It's the thought that counts over time: The interplay of intent, outcome, stewardship, and legacy motivations in intergenerational reciprocity
Sometimes the well-intended actions of prior generations result in undesirable outcomes to subsequent generations. Our research highlights the role of making the intention of past generations transparent in intergenerational resource allocations. We demonstrate that even in the presence of undesirable outcomes, people use previous generations' intentions to guide their own decisions for allocating resources to future generations. Furthermore, we show that making the good intention of past generations transparent in intergenerational resource allocations enacts feelings of stewardship, which in turn promotes generosity to future others. Finally, we identify an intervention – the induction of legacy motivations – that can prevent a pattern of selfish intentions from being reciprocated forward in time to future generations.
Bang, HM; Zhou Koval, C; Wade-Benzoni, KA
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