Cultural Differences in Donation Decision-Making



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Decisions to help those in need are essential for human development and survival. Previous studies have demonstrated the “identified effect”, in which one identifiable individual typically invokes stronger feelings of compassion and receives greater aid than statistical victim. However, this preference might be influenced by cultural differences. In the current study, Chinese respondents’ ratings of distress and sympathy and their willingness to contribute are greater for a group of sick children than an individual. In the U.S., greater willingness to help and sympathy are elicited by an identified victim in comparison with an unidentified one. The different results may demonstrate the importance of cultural differences when trying to understand people’s prosocial behavior.


© 2015 Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited


Emotions, Culture, Chinese People, Decision Making, Prosocial Behavior, Motivation, Reasoning, Social Psychology


Wang Y, Tang Y-Y, Wang J (2015) Cultural Differences in Donation Decision-Making. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0138219.