Similarity Effect and Altruism
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Many models try to explain people’s decisions in multi-alternative scenarios but these models have not yet tested for the effect of interpersonal relationship that might affect people’s choices. For example, Tversky (1972) introduced the Similarity Hypothesis: people tend to choose a dissimilar item over two similar items in the same set. To expand this finding and have a better understanding of what the impact of interpersonal relationships might have, we use an online survey of the Giving and the Taking conditions with a set of two similar items and one dissimilar item. In the Giving condition, subjects will choose to give away one M&Ms® jar from the set, with the only distinction being the colors of the M&Ms®. Further, recipient types are various (i.e. lover, acquaintance, unknown, child in need) to test for effects of interpersonal relationship with altruism regarding the type of recipient. The hypothesis for this Giving condition is that regardless of the recipient types, people still choose to give away the similar item to the recipient and keep the dissimilar item to the self. In the Taking condition, subjects will choose to keep a toothpaste; however, the only available clue is the quantity of each choice. We hypothesize in this Taking condition that people will use this clue and choose the dissimilar one. The findings will expand the knowledge of this effect by examining the interaction between similarity and altruism, and the interaction between similarity and categorical information (that is, color and quantity).