The collective aggregation effect: Aggregating potential collective action increases prosocial behavior.
The authors investigated the effectiveness of aggregating over potential noncontingent collective action ("If X people all do Y action, then Z outcomes will be achieved") to increase prosocial behavior. They carried out 6 experiments encouraging 4 different prosocial activities and found that aggregating potential benefits over 1,000 people produced more prosocial intentions and actions than aggregating over 1 person did. The authors further showed that aggregating potential benefits over 1,000 people produced more prosocial intentions than aggregating benefits over 1,000 days did. This collective aggregation effect was due to the presentation of larger aggregated benefits (Experiments 1-6), attenuation of psychological discounting (Experiment 4), and increased perceptions of outcome efficacy (Experiments 5-6). The effect was not due to social norms (Experiment 3) or a simple anchoring process (Experiments 4-5). Often individual contributions to societal ills seem like mere "drops in a bucket"; collective aggregation helps by making individual actions seem bucket-sized, immediate, important, and effective. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Camilleri, AR; Larrick, RP
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