Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (12) : 1351-1362     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01351
Reports of Empirical Studies |
The impact of congruency between moral appeal and social perception on charitable donation
CHEN Siyun1,WEI Haiying1,2(),MENG Lu3
1 Management School, Jinan University
2 The Institute of Enterprise Development, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
3 School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
Download: PDF(747 KB)   HTML Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

Previous research has long paid attention to how to improve persuasive effectiveness in charitable donation. Based on moral foundation theory (MFT) and stereotype content model (SCM), this paper proposes that a match between moral appeal and social perception leads higher persuasive effectiveness of individual donation. More specifically, relative to those who are exposed to a binding appeal, consumers who are exposed to an individualizing appeal are more willing to donate for warmth-oriented organizations. However, for competence- oriented organizations, a binding appeal will garner higher persuasive effectiveness than an individualizing appeal. Furthermore, two types of efficacy (i.e., self-efficacy and response efficacy) mediate the interaction effect of moral appeal and social perception on donation effectiveness.
Three lab experiments were conducted to examine these hypotheses. In particular, experiment 1 employed a 3 (moral appeal: binding appeal vs. individualizing appeal vs. neutral) × 2 (social perception: warmth-oriented vs. competence-oriented) two-way between-subjects design. We found that competence-oriented (vs. warmth-oriented) organizations will obtain better donation persuasion results when consumers are exposed to binding (vs. individualizing) appeal, supporting the hypotheses H1a and H1b. Then, in experiment 2, we identified the underlying mechanism, such that the interaction effect is driven by consumers’ response efficacy and self-efficacy, verifying the hypotheses H2a and H2b. Experiment 3 further examined the mediating role of different types of efficacy using a moderation approach. Participants were randomly assigned to one of condition of 3 (moral appeal: binding appeal vs. individualizing appeal vs. neutral) × 2 (social perception: warmth- oriented vs. competence-oriented) × 2 (efficacy: self-efficacy vs. response efficacy). Experiment 3 replicated the findings of previous experiments, showing the robustness of our conclusions. We also ruled out some alternative explanations (e.g., empathy) in the study.
Theoretically, this research observes for the first time the interactive effect of moral appeal and social perception, thus extending both moral foundation theory and stereotype content model. The current study also enriches existing donation literature by examining the mediating role of response efficacy and self-efficacy. Managerially, this research has rich implications to charitable organization and companies when they aim to improve persuasive effectiveness in an individual donation.

Keywords moral appeal      warmth      competence      donation      self-efficacy      response efficacy     
ZTFLH:  B849: F713.55  
Corresponding Authors: Haiying WEI     E-mail:
Issue Date: 21 October 2019
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Siyun CHEN
Haiying WEI
Cite this article:   
Siyun CHEN,Haiying WEI,Lu MENG. The impact of congruency between moral appeal and social perception on charitable donation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(12): 1351-1362.
URL:     OR
温暖型(n = 120) 能力型(n = 123)
个体人道诉求(n = 80) 15.23 a 5.66 11.68 b 5.73
群体规范诉求(n = 81) 12.13 b 5.02 14.69 a 5.31
中性诉求(n = 82) 13.05 b 5.65 11.98 b 5.48
自我效能组(n = 231) 反应效能组(n = 230)
温暖型(n = 118) 能力型(n = 113) 温暖型(n = 114) 能力型(n = 116)
个体人道诉求(n = 149) 5.16 a 1.44 4.13 b 1.19 4.04 a 1.24 3.95 a 1.17
群体规范诉求(n = 158) 4.18 b 1.30 3.88 b 1.23 4.08 a 1.45 4.84 b 1.15
中性诉求(n = 154) 4.22 b 1.26 4.19 b 1.22 4.09 a 1.24 3.81 a 1.25
[1] Aaker J. L., Garbinsky E. N., & Vohs K. D . (2012). Cultivating admiration in brands: Warmth, competence, and landing in the “golden quadrant”. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(2), 191-194.
[2] Aaker J., Vohs K. D., & Mogilner C . (2010). Nonprofits are seen as warm and for-profits as competent: Firm stereotypes matter. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(2), 224-237.
[3] Ajzen I . (2002). Perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy, locus of control, and the theory of planned behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(4), 665-683.
[4] Bandura A . (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37(2), 122-147.
[5] Cesario J., Grant H., & Higgins E. T . (2004). Regulatory fit and persuasion: Transfer from “feeling right”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(3), 388-404.
[6] Chang C. T . (2008). To donate or not to donate? Product characteristics and framing effects of cause-related marketing on consumer purchase behavior. Psychology & Marketing, 25(12), 1089-1110.
[7] Chen S. Y., & Luo Z. W . (2017). The impact of online social support on customer innovation: Role of self-efficacy. Enterprise Economy, 5, 64-71.
[7] [ 陈斯允, 骆紫薇 . (2017). 在线社会支持对顾客创新行为的影响—基于自我效能的中介作用. 企业经济, 5, 64-71.]
[8] Choi H. J., Krieger J. L., & Hecht M. L . (2013). Reconceptualizing efficacy in substance use prevention research: Refusal response efficacy and drug resistance self-efficacy in adolescent substance use. Health Communication, 28(1), 40-52.
[9] Critcher C. R., & Dunning D . (2013). Predicting persons' versus a person's goodness: Behavioral forecasts diverge for individuals versus populations. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 104(1), 28-44.
[10] Fiske A. P . (1992). The four elementary forms of sociality: Framework for a unified theory of social relations. Psychological Review, 99(4), 689-723.
[11] Fiske S. T., Cuddy A. J. C., & Glick P . (2007). Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(2), 77-83.
[12] Fiske S. T., Cuddy A. J. C., Glick P., & Xu J . (2002). A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 82(6), 878-902.
[13] Gershon, R., Cryder C . (2018). Goods donations increase charitable credit for low-warmth donors. Journal of Consumer Research, 45(2), 451-469.
[14] Graham J., Haidt J., & Nosek B. A . (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 96(5), 1029-1046.
[15] Graham J., Nosek B. A., Haidt J., Iyer R., Koleva S., & Ditto P. H . (2011). Mapping the Moral Domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 366-385.
[16] Haidt J., & Graham J . (2007). When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize. Social Justice Research, 20(1), 98-116.
[17] Han D. H., Duhachek A., & Agrawal N . (2016). Coping and construal level matching drives health message effectiveness via response efficacy or self-efficacy enhancement. Journal of Consumer Research, 43(3), 429-447.
[18] Hayes A. F. (2013), Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: The Guilford Press.
[19] Hoegg J., & Lewis M. V . (2011). The impact of candidate appearance and advertising strategies on election results. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(5), 895-909.
[20] Jiang R. C., & Zheng L . (2017). Donation amount and consumer attitudes in cause-related marketing: Test of a mediated-moderation model. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 49(5), 692-698.
[20] [ 江若尘, 郑玲 . (2017). 善因营销的捐赠水平与消费者态度:一个有中介的调节效应模型检验. 心理学报, 49(5), 692-698.]
[21] Judd C. M., James-hawkins L., Yzerbyt V., & Kashima Y . (2005). Fundamental dimensions of social judgment: Understanding the relations between judgments of competence and warmth. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 89(6), 899-913.
[22] Judge T. A., Erez A., Bono J. E., & Thoresen C.J . (2002). Are measures of self-esteem, neuroticism, locus of control, and generalized self-efficacy indicators of a common core construct? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(3), 693-710.
[23] Keller P. A . (2006). Regulatory focus and efficacy of health messages. Journal of Consumer Research, 33(1), 109-114.
[24] Kervyn N., Fiske S. T., & Malone C . (2012). Brands as intentional agents framework: How perceived intentions and ability can map brand perception. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(2), 166-176.
[25] Kidwell B., Farmer A., & Hardesty D. M . (2013). Getting liberals and conservatives to go green: Political ideology and congruent appeals. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(2), 350-367.
[26] Krishnan B. C., Netemeyer R. G., & Boles J. S . (2002). Self-efficacy, competitiveness, and effort as antecedents of salesperson performance. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 22(4), 285-295.
[27] Labrecque L. I., & Milne G. R . (2012). Exciting red and competent blue: The importance of color in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 40(5), 711-727.
[28] Lee S., Winterich K. P., & Ross W. T . (2014). I'm moral, but I won't help you: The distinct roles of empathy and justice in donations. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(3), 678-696.
[29] Mooijman M., Meindl P. J., Oyserman D., Monterosso J., Dehghani M., & Doris J. M., Graham J. (2017). Resisting temptation for the good of the group: Binding moral values and the moralization of self-control. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 115(3), 585-599. .
[30] Ng T. W. H., & Butts M. M . (2009). Effectiveness of organizational efforts to lower turnover intentions: The moderating role of employee locus of control. Human Resource Management, 48(2), 289-310.
[31] Pang J., Bi S . (2015). Effects of congruency between advertising appeal and country-of-origin stereotype on brand attitude. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 47(3), 406-416.
[31] [ 庞隽, 毕圣 . (2015). 广告诉求-品牌来源国刻板印象匹配度对品牌态度的影响机制. 心理学报, 47(3), 406-416.]
[32] Savary J., Goldsmith K., & Dhar R . (2015). Giving against the odds: when tempting alternatives increase willingness to donate. Journal of Marketing Research, 52(1), 27-38.
[33] Sharma E., & Morwitz V. G . (2016). Saving the masses: The impact of perceived efficacy on charitable giving to single vs. multiple beneficiaries. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 135, 45-54.
[34] Simpson B., White K., & Laran J . (2018). When public recognition for charitable giving backfires: the role of independent self-construal. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(6), 1257-1273.
[35] Smith I. H., Aquino K., Koleva S., & Graham J . (2014). The moral ties that bind..even to out-groups: the interactive effect of moral identity and the binding moral foundations. Psychological Science, 25(8), 1554-1562.
[36] Turiel E . (1983). The development of social knowledge: Morality and convention. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
[37] Uskul A. K., Sherman D. K., & Fitzgibbon J . (2009). The cultural congruency effect: Culture, regulatory focus, and the effectiveness of gain- vs. loss-framed health messages. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(3), 535-541.
[38] Wang Z., Mao H. F., Li Y. X. J., & Liu F . (2017). Smile big or not? Effects of smile intensity on perceptions of warmth and competence. Journal of Consumer Research, 43(5), 787-805.
[39] Watson D., Clark L. A., & Tellegen A . (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063-1070.
[40] Wei H., Wang T., Zhou Y. K., Feng W. T., Ding Q . (2016). The effect of repeated two-syllable brand name on consumer’s perception and preference. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 48(11), 1479-1488.
[40] [ 魏华, 汪涛, 周宗奎, 冯文婷, 丁倩 . (2016). 叠音品牌名称对消费者知觉和偏好的影响. 心理学报, 48(11), 1479-1488.]
[41] Wei H. Y., & Ran Y. X . (2019). Male versus female: How the gender of apologizers influences consumer forgiveness. Journal of Business Ethics, 154(2), 371-387.
[42] Wheeler S. C., Petty R., & Bizer G . (2005). Self-schema matching and attitude change: situational and dispositional determinants of message elaboration. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(4), 787-797.
[43] Winterich K. P., Aquino K., Mittal V., & Swartz R . (2013). When moral identity symbolization motivates prosocial behavior: The role of recognition and moral identity internalization. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(5), 759-770.
[44] Winterich K. P., Mittal V., & Ross W. T . (2009). Donation behavior toward in-groups and out-groups: The role of gender and moral identity. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(2), 199-214.
[45] Winterich K. P., Zhang Y. L., & Mittal V . (2012). How political identity and charity positioning increase donations: Insights from moral foundations theory. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(4), 346-354.
[46] Zawisza M., & Pittard C . (2015). When do warmth and competence sell best? The “golden quadrant” shifts as a function of congruity with the product type, targets’ individual differences, and advertising appeal type. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 37(2), 131-141.
[47] Zhao F. F., Du L. Y., & Hou J. D . (2018). The Influence of Organization Fundraising Techniques on Employees’ Donation Amount: The Moderating Effect of Face Orientation and Power Distance. Management Review, 30(3), 114-127.
[47] [ 赵芬芬, 杜兰英, 侯俊东 . (2018). 组织募捐方式对员工捐赠数额的影响研究——面子倾向和权力距离的调节作用. 管理评论, 30(3), 114-127.]
[48] Zhu L., He Y., Chen Q. M., & Hu M . (2017). It’s the thought that counts: The effects of construal level priming and donation proximity on consumer response to donation framing. Journal of Business Research, 76(7), 44-51.
[49] Zhu Y. M . (2014). The Influences of Type of Fit between Company and Cause, and Information Framing on Consumers’ Responses to Cause-related Marketing. Nankai Business Review, 17(4), 128-139.
[49] [ 朱翊敏 . (2014). 慈善营销中契合类型与信息框架对消费者响应的影响. 南开管理评论, 17(4), 128-139.]
[1] FAN Yafeng,JIANG Jing,CUI Wenquan. The backfire effect of default amounts on donation behavior in online donation platform[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(4): 415-427.
[2] HUANG Fei,WANG Changcheng,SHI Kuankuan,HALIKE Ababaikere,LI Linpeng. Do more contacts bring stronger contact intention? It depends on valence and efficacy[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(11): 1256-1268.
[3] HUANG Yuan-Na, SONG Xing-Yun, SHAO Yang, LI Shu, LIANG Zhu-Yuan. Nudging: Default option effect and response mode promote organ donor registry participation in China[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(8): 868-879.
[4] ZHANG Yong, LIU Haiquan, WANG Mingxuan, QING Ping.  The impact of challenge stress and hindrance stress on employee creativity: The mediating role of self-efficacy and the moderating role of justice[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(4): 450-461.
[5] ZHU Yu, LYU Yang, WANG Yanfei, WANG Lixuan.  Coaching leadership effect on employees' creativity: Multilevel moderated mediator analysis[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(3): 327-336.
[6] WEI Qingwang, LI Muzi, CHEN Xiaochen.  Social class and social perception: Is warmth or competence more important?[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(2): 243-252.
[7] PENG Jian, WANG Zhen.  Being a prototypic follower: Burdening or enabling? The paradoxical effect of followership prototype-trait match[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(2): 216-225.
[8] Bin ZUO,Fangfang WEN,Yang WU,Taotao DAI. Situational evolution of the relationship between warmth and competence in intergroup evaluation: Impact of evaluating intention and behavioral outcomes[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(10): 1180-1196.
[9] JIANG Ruochen; ZHENG Ling. Donation amount and consumer attitudes in cause-related marketing: Test of a mediated-moderation model[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(5): 692-698.
[10] JIANG Hongyan; WANG Haizhong; HE Yun; ZHU Li. The synergistic effect between corporate image and product’s superior benefits: A stereotype content model approach[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(1): 95-105.
[11] ZHENG Xiaoying; PENG Siqing; PENG Luluo. Feeling Better and Becoming MoreBenevolent: Impact of Social Comparison on ProsocialBehavior[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(2): 243-250.
[12] ZHANG Yong;LONG Lirong. The Impact of Pay for Performance on Employees’ Creativity: Moderating Effect of Person-job Fit and Mediating Effect of Creative Self-efficacy[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(3): 363-376.
[13] LI Caina;DANG Jianning;HE Shanshan;LI Hongmei. Shyness and Loneliness: The Multiple Mediating Effects of Self-efficacy[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(11): 1251-1260.
[14] DUAN Jin-Yun,WEI Qiu-Jiang. The Structure of Voice Efficacy and its Role in the Formation Mechanism of Employee Voice Behavior[J]. , 2012, 44(7): 972-985.
[15] LIANG Zong-Bao,ZHANG Guang-Zhen,CHEN Hui-Chang,ZHANG Ping. Relations among Parental Meta-Emotion Philosophy, Parental Emotion Expressivity, and Children’s Social Competence[J]. , 2012, 44(2): 199-210.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech