The 10 Commandments of Humanity



My Principles

Welcome to the morals that will change your life! Ask yourself this:

Then this is for you. Psychology has found the 10 universal guidelines of life, aiming at every single person on this Earth. All provable, all applicable, all as easy as ever. As widespread as these commandments go, you should NEVER feel obligated to follow them. You are free to choose!

Commandment 1:

If you want something, just ask!

Most of us underestimate the power of asking but research has found that sometimes, simply asking gets you what you need. Researchers Flynn and Lake found that people overestimated the number of people they would need to ask to get them to fill out a questionnaire by double. People are often more willing than we think to lend a helping hand and sometimes the best thing to do is just ask!

Flynn, F.J., & Lake, V.K.B. (2008). If you need help, just ask: Underestimating compliance with direct requests for help. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 128-143.

Commandment 2:

Be nice to those around you - giving is receiving

Regan examined the principle of reciprocity and found that people who received a soft drink from an assistant were more likely to buy raffle tickets from the assistant than those who did not receive a coke. This happened regardless of whether they liked or did not like the assistant. This shows that people will often do things for you if you do things for them.

Regan, R.T. (1971). Effects of a favor and liking on compliance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 7, 627-639.

Commandment 3:

A compliment can go further than you think!

Research shows that flattery - even insincere - can lead to lasting positive opinion. Making people feel good about themselves can actually lead them to evaluate you more positively. So hey, next time you see someone, why not give them a compliment - it can't hurt!

Chan, E., & Sengupta, J. (2010). Insincere flattery actually works: A dual attitudes perspective. Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 122-33.

Commandment 4:

An act of kindness a day really does
keep the doctor away.

Many studies find that simply carrying out an act of kindness, such as helping someone on the street or writing a letter of thanks to a friend, increases one's wellbeing and mental health, even in the course of just 10 weeks (Haworth et al.). O'Connell and colleagues found that people who completed positive activities of kindness or gratitude had much higher relationship satisfaction and social support with those in their social network, thus improving their health and wellbeing. It really makes a difference!

O'Connell, B., O'Shea, D., & Gallagher, S. (2014). The role of positive social interactions in improving wellbeing: A randomised controlled pilot trial. European Health Psychologist, 16, 566.

Commandment 5:

If you want your voice to be heard - repeat, repeat, repeat!

Research shows that if you want someone to listen to you, you don't necessarily need the help of others, but repeating a message can do just the trick! Weaver and colleagues found that hearing the same message from one person three times was just as persuasive as hearing the same message from three different people.

Weaver, K., Garcia, S.M., Schwarz, N., & Miller, D.T. (2007). Inferring the popularity of an opinion from its familiarity: A repetitive voice can sound like a chorus. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 821-833.

Commandment 6:

Don't just stand there - if you can help, help!

Just because others might not be helping someone in need, don't let them influence you. You can help them all by yourself. Darley and Latané demonstrated the phenomenon of 'diffusion of responsibility', whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for an action or inaction when others are present.

Darley, J.M. & Latané, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377-383.

Commandment 7:

First impressions aren't always what they seem

Carney, Colvin and Hall tested 330 people and found that the accuracy of first impressions depended on the type of judgement made and the amount of exposure the person had to the individual. They show that judging someone on complex constructs for only a short duration does not give any accurate information about that individual.

Remember: Never judge a book by its cover!

Carney, D.R., Colvin, C.R., Hall, J.A. (2007). A thin slice perspective on the accuracy of first impressions. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 1054-1072.

Commandment 8:

Beware of implicit messages

Fransen and Fennis investigated an implicit, persuasive priming strategy and found that compared with control participants (no strategy used), an implicit prime is as effective as a traditional explicit message. It also uses less cognitive resources - messages that require less effort and are experienced without awareness can be very dangerous.

Fransen, M.L., & Fennis, B.M. (2014). Comparing the impact of explicit and implicit resistance induction strategies on message persuasiveness. Journal of Communication, 64, 915-934.

Commandment 9:

Don't always trust the man in the suit.

For some reason, society tends to imitate and obey both superficial and genuine figures of authority, whether they're in the right or wrong. In 1955, Lefkowitz and colleagues found that people are more likely to jaywalk if a complete stranger in a suit jaywalked first, in comparison to someone in denim. Jaywalking was a much more serious offence in the US back in the 1950s. It makes you think - how far would you go for a person in a suit or a white coat? Anyone can wear a suit - don't blindly comply.

Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R.R., & Mouton, J.S. (1955). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 704.

Commandment 10:

Turn that frown upside down - smiling really is healthy!

Laird found that having people smile or frown (as directed by the experimenter, using different stimuli) led to changes in the participants' emotions and how funny they thought cartoons were. This indicates that the behaviour you express, even if only on the surface, can mediate the quality of your emotional experience. Simply smiling can lead to positive changes in how you feel!

Laird, J.D. (1974). Self-attribution of emotion: The effects of expressive behaviour on the quality of emotional experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 475-486.


"My whole life, I have been devoted to Judaism. My family were Jewish and ever since school I have been brought up with these beliefs. For as long as I can remember, it was unknowing for someone to stray from the religion they'd been brought up with - and that's that. However, I recently came across the '10 Commandments of Humanity' when having lunch with my granddaughter and I was amazed at how important each commandment is, not only for everyday life, but, more importantly, for bringing people together, regardless of religion. At my age we rarely use the Internet, so I love the fact that these commandments are displayed in a small card, something I can easily carry around with me in my purse. I can't stop telling my friends and family about these commandments! Many of them are now keen to learn more. And they in no wayreplace my religion. I will always follow that. But I do believe that, in this day and age, we all need a set of commandments to live by, unite us, and make us feel good!
- Susan Pollack, age 84, London