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Keeping a promise yields much happiness: Study

IANS  |  New York 

If you think reaching the restaurant where you are to meet your girl an hour before the planned time will make her happy and pardon you for promises you didn't keep, you may be wrong.

Exceeding a promise may not be worth the effort you put in, and keeping a promise is not only valued but yields more happiness, a new study has suggested.

"Take efforts into keeping promises, not in exceeding them," said Nicholas Epley of University of Chicago's Booth School of Business in the US.

For the study, researchers set out to explore "promise exceeding" in a series of experiments that tested imagined, recalled, and actual promise-making.

In one of the experiments, for example, researchers asked participants to recall three promises: one broken, one kept and one exceeded. They then asked them to rate how happy they were with the promise-maker's behaviour.

While participants valued keeping a promise much more highly than breaking one, exceeding the promise conferred virtually no additional happiness with the promise-maker.

Keeping a promise is like fulfilling a social contract that shows that you are a reliable and trustworthy person.

The findings have implications for businesses that need to deliver products within stipulated time.

The study appeared in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

First Published: Sat, May 10 2014. 14:28 IST