The donor is in the details
Recent research finds that people respond more generously to individual victims described in detail than to equivalent statistical victims described in general terms. We propose that this “identified victim effect” is one manifestation of a more general phenomenon: a positive influence of tangible information on generosity. In three experiments, we find evidence for an “identified intervention effect”; providing tangible details about a charity’s interventions significantly increases donations to that charity. Although previous work described sympathy as the primary mediator between tangible information and giving, current mediational analyses show that the influence of tangible details can operate through donors’ perception that their contribution will have impact. Taken together with past work, the results suggest that tangible information of many types promotes generosity and can do so either via sympathy or via perceived impact. The ability of tangible information to increase impact points to new ways for charities to encourage generosity.
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Volume (Year): 120 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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