More for the many: The influence of entitativity on charitable giving

Robert Smith, David Faro, Katherine A. Burson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Donations to large numbers of victims are typically muted relative to donations to a single identified victim. This article shows that people can donate more to large numbers of victims if these victims are perceived as entitative—comprising a single, coherent unit. For example, donations to help children in need are higher when the children comprise a family than when they have no explicit group membership. The same effect is observed on donations for endangered animals that are depicted as moving in unison. Perceived entitativity results in more extreme judgments of victims. Victims with positive traits are therefore viewed more favorably when entitative, triggering greater feelings of concern and higher donations. Entitativity has the opposite effect for victims sharing negative traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-976
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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