On the Influence of Emotion on Decision Making: The Case of Charitable Giving

  • Ryan Kandrack
  • Gustav LundbergEmail author
Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI, volume 502)


This chapter summarizes and discusses methodologies and findings of recent research focused on the influence of emotion on decision-making in general and charitable giving in particular. Exploring how appraisal theory findings carry over to the decision of charitable giving, we experimentally examine the influence of incidental sadness and anger on charitable donations to an identified or a statistical victim. First, subjects viewed a previously validated film clip and provided a written response to how they would feel in the situation in the clip. Subjects then viewed a charity letter and had the opportunity to make a donation. Overall, participants in both the sad and angry conditions donated more than participants in the control condition. Sad individuals donated more money to a statistical victim relative to individuals in a neutral condition. This finding is consistent with appraisal-tendency theories. Angry individuals, however, did not donate significantly more to either an identified or statistical victim relative to individuals in a neutral condition. Self-reported emotions reveal discrete levels of sadness elicited in the sad condition, but elevated levels of additional negative emotions in the anger conditions.


Identifiable victim effect Charitable giving Incidental emotion Appraisal tendency framework 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Palumbo-Donahue School of Business AdministrationDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.McAnulty College of Liberal ArtsDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Swedish School of Economics and Business AdministrationHelsinkiFinland

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