ABSTRACTWe examined whether enhancing the emotionality of a referent public good influences the subsequent valuation of a target public good. We predicted that it would and that the directionality of its impact would depend on a fundamental cognitive process – categorisation. If the target and referent goods belong to the same domain, we expected that the effect on the target would be in the same direction as the emotional enhancement of the referent. However, if the target and referent goods belong (...) to different domains, we expected that the effect on the target would be either negligible or in the opposite direction to that of the emotional enhancement of the referent. In Experiment 1 we examined the impact of emotionally enhancing a referent public good on feelings towards a target public good, whereas in Experiment 2 on the willingness to contribute towards a target public good. The results support the predicted interaction, which was... (shrink)
A way to make people save energy is by informing them that “comparable others” save more. We investigated whether one can further improve this nudge by manipulating Who the “comparable others” are. We asked participants to imagine receiving feedback stating that their energy consumption exceeded that of “comparable others” by 10%. We varied Who the “comparable others” were in a 2 × 2 design: they were a household that was located either in the same neighborhood as themselves or in a (...) different neighborhood, and its members were either identified (by names and a photograph) or unidentified. We also included two control conditions: one where no feedback was provided, and one where only statistical feedback was provided (feedback about an average household). We found that it matters Who the “comparable others” are. The most effective feedback was when the referent household was from the same neighborhood as the individual’s and its members were not identified. (shrink)
Preferences for options that do not secure optimal outcomes, like the ones catalogued by Sunstein, derive from two sources: cognitive heuristics and deontological rules. Although rules may stem from automatic affective reactions, they are deliberately maintained. Because strongly held convictions have important behavioral implications, it may be useful to regard cognitive heuristics and deontological rules as separate sources of nonconsequential judgment in the moral domain.