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Scope Insensitivity in Helping Decisions: Is It a Matter of Culture and Values?
Ben Gurion University of Negev, Israel; Ben Gurion University of Negev, Israel.
University of Oregon, OR 97403 USA; University of Oregon, OR 97403 USA.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Journal of experimental psychology. General, ISSN 0096-3445, E-ISSN 1939-2222, Vol. 144, no 6, 1042-1052 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

The singularity effect of identifiable victims refers to peoples greater willingness to help a single concrete victim compared with a group of victims experiencing the same need. We present 3 studies exploring values and cultural sources of this effect. In the first study, the singularity effect was found only among Western Israelis and not among Bedouin participants (a more collectivist group). In Study 2, individuals with higher collectivist values were more likely to contribute to a group of victims. Finally, the third study demonstrates a more causal relationship between collectivist values and the singularity effect by showing that enhancing peoples collectivist values using a priming manipulation produces similar donations to single victims and groups. Moreover, participants collectivist preferences mediated the interaction between the priming conditions and singularity of the recipient. Implications for several areas of psychology and ways to enhance caring for groups in need are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC , 2015. Vol. 144, no 6, 1042-1052 p.
Keyword [en]
singularity effect; identifiable victims; helping behavior; cultural differences; individualism and collectivism
National Category
Basic Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123785DOI: 10.1037/a0039708ISI: 000365615200007PubMedID: 26372306OAI: diva2:892946

Funding Agencies|National Science Foundation [1127509]

Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-11 Last updated: 2016-01-11

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Västfjäll, Daniel
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