Preference Reversals in Donation
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Generally, people make decisions based on available information. We tend to think that our decisions are originally from our own deliberation. However, these decisions can be influenced by choices presented to us. A previous study by Hsee (1998) suggests that these evaluations can be inconsistent when people are presented either with one choice or with many choices at once. We test whether this hypothesis applies in a donation scenario. Using an online survey, participants will see the picture of or the level of money of either one donation box (with low or high existing amounts of money) or two donation boxes (with low and high amounts of money in each). In the Single condition, they will choose an amount of money to donate to the box. In the Joint condition, they will choose both the box and the amount. We hypothesize that in the Single condition, people tend to donate more in the high money box. In contrast, for the Joint condition, more people will choose the low money box with a higher amount of money than people who donate to the high money box. Yet, when comparing two conditions, people will donate more in the Joint condition. This is because they have reversed their preferences in the presence of an alternative. This would also apply when they are provided only the amount of money in the box without the picture of the box(es). The findings will provide us with a better understanding of preference reversals that involve money and altruistic behavior. Ultimately, we may be able to apply this result to increase donation in the real-world practices.