Overcoming beneficiary race as an impediment to charitable donations: social dominance orientation, the experience of moral elevation, and donation behavior

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Jan;35(1):72-84. doi: 10.1177/0146167208325415. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Abstract

Three studies examined the relationship between social dominance orientation (SDO), the experience of moral elevation, and Whites' donations to charitable organizations. Study 1 used video clips depicting acts of moral excellence to elicit a state of moral elevation (a distinctive feeling of warmth and expansion, which is accompanied by admiration, affection, and even love for people whose exemplary moral behavior is being observed). Results show that moral elevation increased participants' willingness to donate to a Black-oriented charity and attenuated the negative effect of the group-based dominance (GBD) component of SDO on donation behavior. Studies 2 and 3 replicate and extend these findings by using a written story to elicit a state of moral elevation and examining actual donations to a Black-oriented charity. Results show that moral elevation increased donations to the Black-oriented charity and neutralized the negative influence of GBD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Altruism*
  • Blacks / psychology*
  • Charities*
  • Culture
  • Decision Making
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Gift Giving*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morals*
  • Social Dominance*
  • Social Facilitation
  • Social Identification
  • Students / psychology
  • Virtues
  • Whites / psychology*
  • Young Adult