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Who helps more? How self-other discrepancies influence decisions in helping situations

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Listed:
  • Tehila Kogut
  • Ruth Beyth-Marom

Abstract

Research has shown that people perceive themselves as less biased than others, and as better than average in many favorable characteristics. We suggest that these types of biased perceptions regarding intentions and behavior of others may directly affect people's decisions. In the current research we focus on possible influences in the context of helping behavior. In four experiments we found that, people believe that others, compared to themselves, are less inclined to help and cooperate, are less aware of the number of bystanders and more influenced by the ``proportion dominance'' bias and by the ``identifiable victim effect.'' We demonstrate that these perceptions are na\"ive and unrealistic by showing that decisions from both self and others' perspectives are equally biased. Finally, we show how the perspective from which a decision is made (self vs.\ others) may affect private as well as public decisions in ways that might not be in the best interest of the decision maker and the public.

Suggested Citation

  • Tehila Kogut & Ruth Beyth-Marom, 2008. "Who helps more? How self-other discrepancies influence decisions in helping situations," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3(8), pages 595-606, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:3:y:2008:i:8:p:595-606
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fetherstonhaugh, David & Slovic, Paul & Johnson, Stephen & Friedrich, James, 1997. "Insensitivity to the Value of Human Life: A Study of Psychophysical Numbing," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 283-300, May-June.
    2. Jenni, Karen E & Loewenstein, George, 1997. "Explaining the "Identifiable Victim Effect."," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 235-257, May-June.
    3. 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.
    4. Baron, Jonathan, 1997. "Confusion of Relative and Absolute Risk in Valuation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 301-309, May-June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reyniers, Diane & Bhalla, Richa, 2013. "Reluctant altruism and peer pressure in charitable giving," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48779, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. André Mata, 2016. "Proportion dominance in valuing lives: The role of deliberative thinking," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(5), pages 441-448, September.

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