Getting Out of Your Way to Help Others: Responsibility to Help and Warm-Glow
Experimental Analysis of Behavior
In the past decades, three major theories emerged as key motivators in altruistic behaviors: pure altruism, external motivation, and warm-glow, which refers to utility that people derive from altruistic actions in a form of warm, positive feeling. Recently, more studies have focused on understanding warm-glow and its components, such as social image concern and empathic stimuli, in order to better comprehend and encourage altruistic behaviors. We propose that responsibility to help is a potential factor that influences warm-glow from altruistic behavior. In our proposed experimental design, we will test the hypothesis that people would anticipate less warm-glow if the responsibility to help is high, but would anticipate more warm-glow if the responsibility to help is low. We also hypothesize that higher responsibility to help would lead to more altruistic behaviors. Support for our hypothesis, as shown in the preliminary data, would render significant implications to charities as their tendency to make people feel responsible to give may have a tradeoff between increased short-term donation and reduced warm-glow feeling that donors experience.