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Same numbers, different meanings: How numeracy influences the importance of numbers for pro-social behavior
University of Vienna, Austria .
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Ohio State University, OH USA .
University of Vienna, Austria .
2013 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-1031, E-ISSN 1096-0465, Vol. 49, no 4, 699-705 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Numerical information often serves as a basis for evaluations, decisions and behavior. In requests for charitable giving, three numerical cues in the donation description are of particular importance: the number of potential recipients of a donation, the total number of people in need, and their proportion. In three studies, we examined the effects of numeracy on the weight given to these numerical cues in donations. Study 1 contrasted the importance of a higher absolute number (of potential recipients and the number of people in need) vs. a higher proportion of recipients. In Study 2, we investigated the effects of the total number of people in need and Study 3 was designed to focus on the impact of the absolute number of potential recipients. Our results revealed a consistent pattern demonstrating that highly numerate individuals were willing to donate more for projects that offered assistance to the greatest proportion of recipients. Conversely, less numerate individuals were insensitive to this proportion; they tended to donate more with increases in both the number of recipients and the total number of people in need. The meaning of numbers in donation decisions and the resulting motivation to help depends on numeric skill.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2013. Vol. 49, no 4, 699-705 p.
Keyword [en]
Donations; Numerical information; Numeracy; Proportion
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-96465DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2013.02.009ISI: 000319852600012OAI: diva2:642926
Available from: 2013-08-23 Created: 2013-08-20 Last updated: 2013-08-23

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Dickert, Stephan
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