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A drop in the bucket? The Analytic System and Donations to Identifiable and Statistical Victims Zheng (Sharon) Bi Psychology and Social Behavior University.

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Presentation on theme: "A drop in the bucket? The Analytic System and Donations to Identifiable and Statistical Victims Zheng (Sharon) Bi Psychology and Social Behavior University."— Presentation transcript:

1 A drop in the bucket? The Analytic System and Donations to Identifiable and Statistical Victims Zheng (Sharon) Bi Psychology and Social Behavior University of California, Irvine

2 “Baby Jessica”  Received over $700,000 in donations from the public, when she fell in a well near her home in Texas.

3 Identifiable Victim Effect (IVE) Society is willing to spend far more money to save the lives of single, identifiable victims than to save statistical, groups of victims. Lives are valued inconsistently.

4 “The death of a single Russian soldier is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” ----Josef Stalin Every dog has its day—but at what price?  More than $48,000 was contributed to save a dog stranded on a ship adrift on the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. Food shortages in Malawi are affecting more than three million children. More than 11 million people in Ethiopia need immediate food assistance.

5 Why is this happening? Affect Heuristic (Slovic)  Psychophysical (emotional) numbing towards group of victims. Logical connection (Sharon)  “my donation does not make a significant difference. It is just a drop in the bucket.”

6 My Research Proposal Identifiable victim effect is not simply caused by emotion or affect, it has logical reasoning behind it as well. Less money is donated to Statistical victims because people perceive their donation as “a drop in the bucket”.

7 Research Design People read information from charity letters. Information on the charity letters was manipulated. Intervention  Purpose: donation towards statistical victims is not “a drop in the bucket”.

8 Research Design: Groups and Conditions Two groups  Identifiable versus Statistical Victim groups Three conditions  Control condition  Two intervention conditions Metric condition Group effort condition

9 Hypotheses Control condition  The identifiable victim effect will be replicated Intervention conditions  The identifiable victim effect will be reduced or eliminated.

10 Control Condition Identifiable Victim  Any money that you donate will go to Shona, a 7-year-old girl from Mali, Africa. Shona is desperately poor, and faces a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. Save the Children will work with Shona’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education.

11 Control Condition Identifiable Victim  Any money that you donate will go to Shona, a 7-year-old girl from Mali, Africa. Shona is desperately poor, and faces a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. Save the Children will work with Shona’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education. Statistical Victim  Any money that you donate will go to more than three million children in Mali, Africa. They are desperately poor, and face a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Their lives will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. Save the Children will work with these children’s families and other members of the community to help feed them, provide them with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education.

12 Metric Condition Identifiable Victim group  “$5 is enough to feed Shona for a week” Statistical Victim group  “$5 is enough to feed an African child for a week” “Oh, I see how much my ‘drop’ can help.”

13 Group Effort Condition-- Individual efforts can be combined into a significant group effort The compact fluorescent light bulbs, also called the energy saving light bulbs, emit the same light as classic light bulbs but use 75% or 80% less electricity. What that means is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one energy saving light bulbs, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. A similar group effort could help save African children.

14 Dependent Measures Willingness to Contribute ($)  After you have read the information above, are you willing to contribute money to save the child (children)? Yes or NO  If yes, how much money you would like to donate at this moment? Analytical questions—measures logical reasoning. Emotional/affective reactions Interpersonal Reactivity Index- Mark H. Davis (1980)- measurement of empathy.

15 Dependent Measures Willingness to Contribute ($)  After you have read the information above, are you willing to contribute money to save the child (children)? Yes or NO  If yes, how much money you would like to donate at this moment? Analytical questions Emotional Reactions Interpersonal Reactivity Index- Mark H. Davis (1980)-measure of empathy.

16 Sample 203 UCI students completed the survey online Randomly assigned to each group and condition.

17 Results Failed to replicate Identifiable victim effect ($IV<$SV) Significant condition difference (p=.002)  Group effort manipulation increased donations  Metric manipulation anchored responses to $5

18 More Results Emotional reactions  7-point scale & 5 questions  No significant differences among groups and conditions.

19 More Results—Analytical Questions “To what extent do you feel that it is effective to give money to aid this cause?”  Positive correlation (r=.37, p<.01)

20 More Results—Analytical Questions “Do you think that your contribution can make a significant difference in these children’s lives?”  Positive correlation (r=.33, p<.01)

21 Follow-up Study No evidence for the identifiable victim effect in the present study.

22 Follow-up Study Identifiable Victim  Any money that you donate will go to Shona, a 7-year-old girl from Mali, Africa. Shona is desperately poor, and faces a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. Save the Children will work with Shona’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education. My version of Statistical Victim  Any money that you donate will go to more than three million children in Mali, Africa. They are desperately poor, and face a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Their lives will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. Save the Children will work with these children’s families and other members of the community to help feed them, provide them with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education.

23 Identifiable Victim  Any money that you donate will go to Shona, a 7-year-old girl from Mali, Africa. Shona is desperately poor, and faces a threat of severe hunger or even starvation. Her life will be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. Save the Children will work with Shona’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education. Slovic’s version of Statistical Victim  Food shortages in Malawi are affecting more than three million children.  In Zambia, severe rainfall deficits have resulted in a 42 percent drop in maize production from As a result, an estimated three million Zambians face hunger.  Four million Angolans—one third of the population—have been forced to flee their homes.  More than 11 million people in Ethiopia need immediate food assistance.

24 Study Design Three groups  Identifiable Victim  My version of statistical victim  Slovic’s version of statistical victim Two conditions  Control  Group effort

25 Sample N=122 Randomly assigned to each group and condition.

26 Findings Group effort manipulation increased the donation for all groups. In control condition, donation for IV almost equal to donation for Slovic’s version of Statistical Victim. Consistent with the first study, donations for my SV is much higher compared to other groups (p=.033)

27 More findings Emotional reactions  Replicated the result from study one Analytical questions (effectiveness & significant difference)  Replicated the result from study one

28 Conclusions Metric information tends to anchor people’s donations.  “$5 is enough to feed an African child for a week”  Donation ≈ $5 Group effort information really makes people realize that their contributions do make difference.  It increased people’s donation in both studies.

29 Conclusions Making a donation to individual is not just an emotional reaction, it has logical reasoning behind it. Implications on how charities should approach people

30 Acknowledgment Prof. Peter H. Ditto Prof. Valerie Jenness Members of Ditto Lab  Graduate students David Tannenbaum Sena Koleva Andrew Mastronarde  Undergraduate students Cassie Diaz Yvette Jaramillo Goldie Chan Members of Social Ecology Honors’ Program


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