Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

5-2016

Abstract

For some, facing a prosocial request feels like being trapped between a rock and a hard place, requiring either a resource (e.g., money) or psychological (e.g., self-reproach) cost. Because both outcomes are dissatisfying, we propose that these people are motivated to avoid prosocial requests, even when they face these requests in private, anonymous contexts. In two experiments, in which participants' anonymity and privacy was assured, participants avoided facing prosocial requests and were willing to do so at a personal cost. This was true both for people who would have otherwise complied with the request and those who would have otherwise refused the request. This suggests that anticipatory self-reproach motivates people to avoid prosocial requests, regardless of whether or not this self-reproach would have been strong enough to cause them to comply with a direct request. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for prosocial behavior and the maintenance of moral self-regard.

Keywords

Prosocial behavior, Self-interest, Morality, Decision making, Avoidance

Discipline

Marketing | Psychology

Research Areas

Marketing

Publication

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Volume

64

First Page

35

Last Page

40

ISSN

0022-1031

Identifier

10.1016/j.jesp.2016.01.011

Publisher

Elsevier

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2016.01.011

Share

COinS