ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (4): 413-430.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00413

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

“More” is less: Why multiple payment mechanism impairs individual donation

RAN Yaxuan1, NIU Yixin1(), CHEN Siyun2   

  1. 1 School of Business Administration, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China
    2 School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • Received:2020-07-29 Published:2021-04-25 Online:2021-02-22
  • Contact: NIU Yixin
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(71802192);National Natural Science Foundation of China(71772077);National Natural Science Foundation of China(71832010);Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education(18YJC630137)


Payment mechanism is usually an essential element of the donation information. Based on metacognitive inference theory, the current research explores how and why the number of payment mechanisms (multiple vs. single) influences individual donation. Using six studies and a single-paper meta-analysis, we show that compared to single payment mechanism, multiple payment mechanism can impair the amount and willingness of individual donation, with the sequential mediation of perceived commercialization and moral skepticism. This is because individuals hold a “multiple payment mechanism = commercialization” lay belief due to the prevailing co-occurance of multiple payment mechanism and commercialization activities. When individuals notice the information of payment mechanism, they draw on an underlying lay belief that multiple payment mechanism implies commercialization to make metacognitive inference that the donatee has commercialized characteristics, which further leads to greater moral skepticism and less donations. In addition, the diagnosticity of the lay belief plays a moderating role. Specifically, low diagnosticity of the “multiple payment mechanism = commercialization” lay belief could attenuate the metacognitive inference process of perceived commercialization, thus weakening the negative effect of multiple (vs. single) payment mechanism on individual donation.

Key words: individual donation, number of payment mechanism, metacognitive inference, perceived commercialization, diagnosticity