Matthew Hagler '13, Catherine Lambert '12, Natalie Rothwell '12, and Associate Professor Karen Yu have published Do Perceived Social Norms Affect Generosity? in the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences, Volume 11 - 2012. Matt is an English major who has completed a psychology minor; Cathy and Natalie are psychology majors. The project was part of the laboratory course Psyc 358 Cognitive Psychology offered by Dr. Yu.
abstract: Generosity, defined as one’s willingness to give, has been studied in a variety of contexts. The present study sought to uncover the effect of perceived social norms on generosity. Undergraduate students completed an electronic questionnaire supposedly examining community engagement. We exposed participants to one of three different social norms for generosity by embedding different statistics regarding the behavior of the average undergraduate student within the questionnaire. Following this manipulation were two evaluative questions measuring generosity via participants’ allocation of funds to outreach and charity, followed by an abbreviated version of the Interpersonal Generosity Scale (IGS). The provided social norms did not affect participants’ allocation of funds to outreach and charity. Alternative interpretations of these results are discussed, including the possibilities that: (a) social norms influence generosity only when both the provided social norms and the assessment of generosity refer to the same specific act, (b) our manipulation of social norms was not strong enough, and (c) our measure of generosity was not sensitive enough, given that we assessed participants’ hypothetical allocations to two broad categories.
The URC Undergraduate Research Journal of the Human Sciences is an online, reviewed (by two professionals and one peer) journal dedicated to the publication of undergraduate student research. Its purpose is to foster and reward the scholarly efforts of undergraduate human sciences students as well as to provide a valuable learning experience. Its articles represent primarily the work of undergraduates; faculty members heavily involved in the project may be designated as co-authors.
The Journal has been part of the Undergraduate Research Community of Kappa Omicron Nu, the Human Sciences Honor Society, since it began publication in 2002. KON is the 1990 consolidation of Omicron Nu (founded 1912) and Kappa Omicron Phi (founded 1922); it was admitted to the Association of College Honor Societies in 1951.