I stumbled to the places in which the authors stress the human need to feel in control in order to feel happy and act compassionately toward others. Actually, one told about a rat study in the 70s where the rats all got the same amount of electric shocks but the ONE rat that did have some control over them lived much longer than those that had no control. (Eduardo Punset, The Happiness Trip, Chelsea Green, 2007, 55-56. Psychologist Alfie Cohn, who has been writing about altruism for decades makes the following generalization. People who feel in control of what happens in their lives and who have little need for approval from others are the most likely to help others. (Beyond Selfishness, Psychology Today, Oct. 1988) I connected these observations with Buddhism. In a sense, while seeming to teach that one let go of attempt to control (thru grasping, repelling etc) actually Buddhist practices teach control. We learn we are not at the mercy of our thoughts/passions completely. So one could understand the calming, happiness-making aspects of Buddhism as meeting this need.
Eduardo Punset, The Happiness Trip, Chelsea Green, 2007, 55-56. (about the rats) Beyond Selfishness, Psychology Today, Oct. 1988