Ally or adversary: The effect of identifiability in inter-group conflict situations
People's tendency to be more generous towards identifiable victims than towards unidentifiable or statistical victims is known as the identifiable victim effect. Recent research (Kogut & Ritov, 2007) called the generality of the effect into question, showing that in cross-national contexts, identifiability affects mostly willingness to help victims belonging to one's 'in-group'. The present research extends the investigation by examining the identifiability effect in inter-group conflict situations. In three experiments, employing hypothetical contributions as well as real monetary allocation in a dictator-game, we found that identifiability increased generosity towards a member of the adversary group, but it decreased generosity towards a member of one's own group. Possible mechanisms underlying this interaction are discussed.
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Volume (Year): 116 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
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- Kogut, Tehila & Ritov, Ilana, 2005. "The singularity effect of identified victims in separate and joint evaluations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 106-116, July.
- Jenni, Karen E & Loewenstein, George, 1997. "Explaining the "Identifiable Victim Effect."," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 235-57, May-June.
- Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001.
"A Theory of Reciprocity,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
457, CESifo Group Munich.
- Paul Slovic, 2007. ""If I look at the mass I will never act": Psychic numbing and genocide," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 2, pages 79-95, April.
- Small, Deborah A & Loewenstein, George, 2003. "Helping a Victim or Helping the Victim: Altruism and Identifiability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 5-16, January.
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