Subliminal influence on generosity


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.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Economics, Finance & Entrepreneurship
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: prosocial motivation,charity,priming,values,behavioral economics,psychology,personality,agreeableness,subliminal,Social Psychology,Economics and Econometrics,Applied Psychology
Publication ISSN: 1386-4157
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 07:25
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2016 13:00
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://link.spr ... 0683-016-9498-8 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-09-01
Published Online Date: 2016-10-15
Accepted Date: 2016-09-22
Submitted Date: 2015-09-18
Authors: Andersson, Ola
Miettinen, Topi
Hytönen, Kaisa
Johannesson, Magnus
Stephan, Ute (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4514-6057)



Version: Accepted Version

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record