Does emotional media content increase donations for rejected groups?

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Huertas, M.K.Z.
Social Responsibility Journal
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HUERTAS, M. K. Z.; CAVALCANTI, P. S. F.; URDAN, A. T. Does emotional media content increase donations for rejected groups?. Social Responsibility Journal, v. 18, n. 7, p. 1270-1284, aug. 2022.
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© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effect of exposure to prosocial media content (PMC) on the subsequent intention to donate to a prosocial cause of a rejected group versus a prosocial cause of a neutral group. The hypothesis, supported in two experimental studies, is that for the individual exposed to a PMC, the difference in the donations for social causes of a rejected group and a neutral group is smaller than for the individual exposed to a non-PMC. Design/methodology/approach: Two between-subjects experimental studies were performed. In both studies, the individual’s emotional responses were manipulated through PMC (conditions: prosocial versus non-prosocial). Then, respondents were asked to split a fixed amount of money between two social actions whose beneficiaries were members of a rejected group versus members of a neutral group. Findings: It was found that the difference in donation between the two actions associated with different types of beneficiaries (i.e. rejected group vs neutral group) was smaller for the individuals exposed to PMC than for individuals exposed to non-PMC. Research limitations/implications: In this research, the donating behavior was operationalized by a simulated donation and not by a real donation. Practical implications: Results suggest that PMC on the internet could be effective in reducing rejection for stigmatized dissociation groups for which it is difficult to get help. Social implications: The results suggest that exposure to PMC on the internet can increase donations for rejected groups. The confirmation of the PMC effect on reducing negative outcomes opens the possibility to diminish negativity toward stigmatized groups. Originality/value: Theoretically, the explanations are based on the social comparison theory.