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More for the Many: The Influence of Entitativity on Charitable Giving

Robert W. Smith, David Faro and Katherine A. Burson
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 39, No. 5 (February 2013), pp. 961-976
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/666470
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Page Count: 16
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More for the Many: The Influence of Entitativity on Charitable
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Donations to large numbers of victims are typically muted relative to donations to a single identified victim. This article shows that people can donate more to large numbers of victims if these victims are perceived as entitative—comprising a single, coherent unit. For example, donations to help children in need are higher when the children comprise a family than when they have no explicit group membership. The same effect is observed on donations for endangered animals that are depicted as moving in unison. Perceived entitativity results in more extreme judgments of victims. Victims with positive traits are therefore viewed more favorably when entitative, triggering greater feelings of concern and higher donations. Entitativity has the opposite effect for victims sharing negative traits.

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