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 (17ms). Our main fnding is that, compared to a baseline condition, the pro-social prime increases donations by approximately 10-17 percent 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.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10683-016-9498-8
- prosocial motivation
- behavioral economics