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Subliminal influence on generosity

Author

Listed:
  • Ola Andersson

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics
    Lund University)

  • Topi Miettinen

    () (Hanken School of Economics
    Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER)
    PCRClab, University of Turku)

  • Kaisa Hytönen

    (Aalto University
    Laurea University of Applied Sciences)

  • Magnus Johannesson

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Ute Stephan

    (Aston Business School)

Abstract

Abstract We experimentally subliminally prime subjects prior to charity donation decisions by showing words that have connotations of pro-social values for a very brief time (17 ms). Our main finding is that, compared to a baseline condition, the pro-social prime increases donations by approximately 10–17 % among subjects with strong pro-social preferences (universalism values). We find a similar effect when interacting the prime with the Big 5 personality characteristic of agreeableness. We furthermore introduce a novel method for testing for priming, “subliminity”. This method reveals that some subjects are capable of recognizing prime words, and the overall results are weaker when we control for this capacity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ola Andersson & Topi Miettinen & Kaisa Hytönen & Magnus Johannesson & Ute Stephan, 2017. "Subliminal influence on generosity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 531-555, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9498-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-016-9498-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schulz, Jonathan F. & Thiemann, Petra & Thöni, Christian, 2018. "Nudging generosity: Choice architecture and cognitive factors in charitable giving," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 139-145.
    2. Balafoutas, Loukas & García-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzis, Nikolaos & Jaber-Lopez, Tarek & Mitrokostas, Evangelos, 2020. "Rehabilitation and social behavior: Experiments in prison," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 148-171.
    3. Gruener, Sven, 2018. "Sample size calculations in economic RCTs: following clinical studies?," SocArXiv 43zbg, Center for Open Science.
    4. Baulia, Susmita, 2019. "Take-up of joint and individual liability loans: An analysis with laboratory experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    5. Branzei, Oana & Parker, Simon C. & Moroz, Peter W. & Gamble, Edward, 2018. "Going pro-social: Extending the individual-venture nexus to the collective level," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 551-565.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Charity; Subliminal; Priming; Universalism; Values; Personality; Pro-social;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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