Gaming with Mr. Slot or Gaming the Slot Machine? Power, Anthropomorphism, and Risk Perception
We propose that risk perceptions are systematically influenced by anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism effects, however, are moderated by the individual’s feelings of social power. People with low power perceive higher risk in playing a slot machine (study 1) and in getting skin cancer (study 2) when the risk-bearing entities (the slot machine and skin cancer) are highly anthropomorphized. In contrast, those with high power perceive greater risk when the entities are less anthropomorphized. We hypothesize these effects occur because those with high (low) power perceived a greater (lesser) degree of control over the anthropomorphized entity. In study 3, we investigate the reverse effect that higher perceived risk may increase anthropomorphism for people with low power but decrease anthropomorphism for people with high power.
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