Moral framing and charitable donation: integrating exploratory social media analyses and confirmatory experimentation

Joe Hoover, Kate Johnson, Reihane Boghrati, Jesse Graham, Morteza Dehghani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Do appeals to moral values promote charitable donation during natural disasters? Using Distributed Dictionary Representation, we analyze tweets posted during Hurricane Sandy to explore associations between moral values and charitable donation sentiment. We then derive hypotheses from the observed associations and test these hypotheses across a series of preregistered experiments that investigate the effects of moral framing on perceived donation motivation (Studies 2 & 3), hypothetical donation (Study 4), and real donation behavior (Study 5). Overall, we find consistent positive associations between moral care and loyalty framing with donation sentiment and donation motivation. However, in contrast with people’s perceptions, we also find that moral frames may not actually have reliable effects on charitable donation, as measured by hypothetical indications of donation and real donation behavior. Overall, this work demonstrates that theoretically constrained, exploratory social media analyses can be used to generate viable hypotheses, but also that such approaches should be paired with rigorous controlled experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalCollabra: Psychology
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Charitable Donation
  • Moral Psychology
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Social Media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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