Title

High Tides, Low Donations: Metaphors May Influence Donors' Willingness to Donate

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Although overtly racist language is no longer tolerated in most public settings, racist concepts about immigrants are still manifested through dehumanizing metaphors in the public discourse and in the media (Santa Ana, 1999; Marshall & Shapiro, 2018). Dehumanizing metaphors are still used as a form of social control (O’Brien, 2002) and carry negative connotations as they push consumers of information to associate immigrants with natural disasters, bothersome insects, and illnesses that need to be eradicated (Marshall & Shapiro, 2018). Indeed, metaphors are so powerful that they influence anti-immigration attitudes and voter behavior (Marshall & Shapiro, 2018). Prior research has overlooked the effects of dehumanizing metaphors on charitable giving. To address this gap in the literature, we investigated whether the use of dehumanizing metaphors in donation requests regarding immigrants lowers the likelihood of an individual’s willingness to donate. We recruited 200 participants via Mechanical Turk and informed them that they could participate in a raffle and win $50. Participants were randomly assigned to read an excerpt either containing a dehumanizing metaphor or not and asked how much of the potential monetary win they were willing to donate. Data analysis revealed that, while the presence of the dehumanizing metaphor did not influence charitable giving, political leaning did. The findings suggest that the manipulation may have been too subtle or that the effect of the metaphor chosen for this study may not apply to the current sociopolitical context.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Tonya Buchanan

Department/Program

Psychology

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

High Tides, Low Donations: Metaphors May Influence Donors' Willingness to Donate

Ellensburg

Although overtly racist language is no longer tolerated in most public settings, racist concepts about immigrants are still manifested through dehumanizing metaphors in the public discourse and in the media (Santa Ana, 1999; Marshall & Shapiro, 2018). Dehumanizing metaphors are still used as a form of social control (O’Brien, 2002) and carry negative connotations as they push consumers of information to associate immigrants with natural disasters, bothersome insects, and illnesses that need to be eradicated (Marshall & Shapiro, 2018). Indeed, metaphors are so powerful that they influence anti-immigration attitudes and voter behavior (Marshall & Shapiro, 2018). Prior research has overlooked the effects of dehumanizing metaphors on charitable giving. To address this gap in the literature, we investigated whether the use of dehumanizing metaphors in donation requests regarding immigrants lowers the likelihood of an individual’s willingness to donate. We recruited 200 participants via Mechanical Turk and informed them that they could participate in a raffle and win $50. Participants were randomly assigned to read an excerpt either containing a dehumanizing metaphor or not and asked how much of the potential monetary win they were willing to donate. Data analysis revealed that, while the presence of the dehumanizing metaphor did not influence charitable giving, political leaning did. The findings suggest that the manipulation may have been too subtle or that the effect of the metaphor chosen for this study may not apply to the current sociopolitical context.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/108