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Whom to help? Immediacy bias in judgments and decisions about humanitarian aid

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  • Huber, Michaela
  • Van Boven, Leaf
  • McGraw, A. Peter
  • Johnson-Graham, Laura
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    Abstract

    People exhibit an immediacy bias when making judgments and decisions about humanitarian aid, perceiving as more deserving and donating disproportionately to humanitarian crises that happen to arouse immediate emotion. The immediacy bias produced different serial position effects, contingent on decision timing (Experiment 1). When making allocation decisions directly after viewing to four emotionally evocative films about four different humanitarian crises, participants donated disproportionately more to the final, immediate crisis, in contrast, when making donation decisions sequentially, after viewing each of the four crises, participants donated disproportionately to the immediate crisis. The immediacy bias was associated with "scope neglect," causing people to take action against relatively less deadly crises (Experiments 2 and 3). The immediacy bias emerged even when participants were warned about emotional manipulation (Experiment 3). The immediacy bias diminished over time, as immediate emotions presumably subsided (Experiment 2). Implications for charitable giving, serial position effects, and the influence of emotion on choice are discussed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 115 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 283-293

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:115:y:2011:i:2:p:283-293

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Decision making Order effects Serial position Affect Emotion Charitable giving;

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