Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Donating to disaster victims: What makes us reach for our wallets?

Date:
January 14, 2011
Source:
University of Royal Holloway London
Summary:
New research has revealed that people are more likely to donate to victims of disasters that are perceived to have natural causes, such as floods or earthquakes, rather than humanly caused factors.

New research by academics at Royal Holloway, University of London has revealed that people are more likely to donate to victims of disasters that are perceived to have natural causes, such as floods or earthquakes, rather than humanly caused factors.

The findings show that people are more willing to part with their cash for victims of disasters such as the Tsunami, Haiti earthquake or more recently the floods in Australia and Brazil. But there is a reluctance to donate to victims of humanly caused events such as wars or civil conflict, such as the Darfur crisis, because those victims are blamed more for their plight even if they are objectively blameless.

Dr Hanna Zagefka, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, explains: "In line with the 'Just World Belief' hypothesis, people have an inherent need to believe that the world is just, and so the suffering of innocents calls into question this just world belief. In order to protect it, people try to construe suffering as just whenever possible, and generally humanly caused events provide more opportunity for victim blame than naturally caused events. In addition, the research shows that victims of natural disasters are generally also perceived to make more of an effort to help themselves, and people like to 'reward' those who are proactive by donating to them."

The researchers say people's decisions about where they put their money are influenced by psychological processes they are not necessarily aware of and this study can provide important tools to help design more effective relief appeals for those victims which are usually forgotten.

Dr Zagefka explains: "Charity appeals for humanly caused disasters could explicitly stress that even though an armed conflict is going on, the victims are impartial civilians who did not trigger the fighting. Similarly, appeals could stress that victims are making an effort to help themselves. This last idea might be particularly helpful, given that many appeals in the past have tended to portray victims as lethargic and passive, presumably to underscore their neediness. Our results suggest that such a portrayal might actually be counterproductive."

The research has been funded by an Economic and Social Research Council grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Royal Holloway London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Royal Holloway London. "Donating to disaster victims: What makes us reach for our wallets?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110114082432.htm>.
University of Royal Holloway London. (2011, January 14). Donating to disaster victims: What makes us reach for our wallets?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110114082432.htm
University of Royal Holloway London. "Donating to disaster victims: What makes us reach for our wallets?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110114082432.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Why Is Big Tobacco Voluntarily Warning You About E-Cigs?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Big tobacco companies are voluntarily printing health warnings on their e-cigarette packages — a move some are calling part of a PR strategy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Why Pediatricians Endorse IUDs, Implants For Teens

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics point to intrauterine devices and implants as good forms of birth control for teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) The 2015 Corvette features valet mode – which allows the owner to secretly record audio and video – but in many states that practice is illegal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins