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.
Prosocial behavior, Self-interest, Morality, Decision making, Avoidance
Marketing | Psychology
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
LIN, Stephanie C.; SCHAUMBERG, Rebecca L.; and REICH, Taly.
Sidestepping the rock and the hard place: The private avoidance of prosocial requests. (2016). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 64, 35-40. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/5260
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