The Salience of Children Increases Adult Prosocial Values

Lukas J. Wolf, Sapphira R. Thorne, Marina Iosifyan, Colin Foad, Samuel Taylor, Vlad Costin, Johan C. Karremans, Geoffrey Haddock, Gregory R. Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Organisations often put children front and centre in campaigns to elicit interest and support for prosocial causes. Such initiatives raise a key theoretical and applied question that has yet to be addressed directly: Does the salience of children increase prosocial motivation and behaviour in adults? We present findings aggregated across eight experiments involving 2,054 adult participants: Prosocial values became more important after completing tasks that made children salient compared to tasks that made adults (or a mundane event) salient or compared to a no-task baseline. An additional field study showed that adults were more likely to donate money to a child-unrelated cause when children were more salient on a shopping street. The findings suggest broad, reliable interconnections between human mental representations of children and prosocial motives, as the child salience effect was not moderated by participants’ gender, age, attitudes, or contact with children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online date16 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • children
  • donation behavior
  • human values
  • infants
  • prosocial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Salience of Children Increases Adult Prosocial Values'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this