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ERIC Number: EJ890020
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2725
Does a "Norm of Self-Interest" Discourage Prosocial Behavior? Rationality and Quid Pro Quo in Charitable Giving
Simpson, Brent; Irwin, Kyle; Lawrence, Peter
Social Psychology Quarterly, v69 n3 p296-306 Sep 2006
Previous studies by Holmes, Miller, and Lerner (2002) support the norm of self-interest and exchange fiction hypotheses. Together these arguments state that people want to act on compassionate feelings (e.g., by donating to charities) but are reluctant to do so if they cannot justify their behavior as being in line with their own self-interest. Thus a person will be more likely to contribute to a charity when he or she receives a product in exchange for the contribution. This exchange fiction gives the person egoistic cover for the compassionate act. In this paper we critically evaluate the evidence for this line of reasoning and offer an alternative explanation for that evidence based on cognitive dissonance theory. We report the results of a new field experiment designed to tease apart the exchange fiction argument and the alternative approach. Results of the study support our application of dissonance theory over the exchange fiction account. (Contains 1 table and 9 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A