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Subliminal Influence on Generosity

Author

Listed:
  • Andersson, Ola

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Miettinen, Topi

    (Hanken School of Economics)

  • Hytönen, Kaisa

    (Aalto University)

  • Johannesson, Magnus

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Stephan, Ute

    (Aston Business School)

Abstract

We experimentally prime subjects subliminally prior to charity donation decisions by showing words that have connotations to prosocial values for a very short duration of time (17ms). Our main finding is that, compared to a baseline condition, the prosocial prime increases donations with about 10–17 percent among subjects with strong prosocial preferences. A similar effect is also found in our data when interacting the prime with the personality characteristic of BigFive agreeableness. We also contribute with providing an arguably better method for testing for "sublimity". The method reveals that some subjects are capable of recognizing some of the prime words, and the results are overall weaker when we control for this capacity.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersson, Ola & Miettinen, Topi & Hytönen, Kaisa & Johannesson, Magnus & Stephan, Ute, 2015. "Subliminal Influence on Generosity," Working Paper Series 1084, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1084
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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;

    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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