2017

Subliminal Influence on Generosity

Reprint No. 2017:42

Author(s): Ola Andersson, Topi Miettinen, Kaisa Hytönen, Magnus Johannesson and Ute StephanYear: 2017 Title: Experimental Economics Volume (No.): 20 (3) Pages: 531–555
Online article (restrictions may apply)
Preliminary version


We experimentally subliminally prime subjects prior to charity donation decisions by showing words that have connotations of pro-social values for a very brief time (17 ms). Our main finding is that, compared to a baseline condition, the pro-social prime increases donations by approximately 10–17 % among subjects with strong pro-social preferences (universalism values). We find a similar effect when interacting the prime with the Big 5 personality characteristic of agreeableness. We furthermore introduce a novel method for testing for priming, “subliminity”. This method reveals that some subjects are capable of recognizing prime words, and the overall results are weaker when we control for this capacity.


Reference:
Andersson, Ola, Topi Miettinen, Kaisa Hytönen, Magnus Johannesson and Ute Stephan (2017), "Subliminal Influence on Generosity". Experimental Economics 20(3), 531–555.

Ola Andersson

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ola.andersson@ifn.se

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