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Mutual help between people is worth advocating. Previous studies have shown that beneficiaries return the favor due to gratitude after the benefactor gives help to the beneficiary, but the scope of the discussion is limited to the beneficiary’s reciprocity to the benefactor, which is what academic studies call direct reciprocity. The present study extends the object of this reciprocity to a third party, i.e., upstream reciprocity. In addition, studies on reciprocity lack comparison of the effect of different benefactors. Therefore, the present study explores the effect of parents and friends’ help on university students’ upstream reciprocity. We designed separate texts for the experiment with either parents or friends who provided help to the university students. Participants filled out the upstream reciprocity questionnaires after reading the experiment’s text. The present study found that friends’ help is able to elicit more upstream reciprocity than their parents’ help in university students.
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