ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2019, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (4): 415-427.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00415

• “以小拨大:行为决策助推社会发展”专栏 • 上一篇    下一篇


樊亚凤1, 蒋晶2(), 崔稳权3   

  1. 1 清华大学经济管理学院, 北京 100084
    2 中国人民大学商学院, 北京 100872
    3 中移互联网有限公司, 广州 510640
  • 收稿日期:2017-07-16 发布日期:2019-02-22 出版日期:2019-04-25
  • 通讯作者: 蒋晶
  • 基金资助:
    * 中国人民大学研究品牌计划基础研究项目资助(13XNI008)

The backfire effect of default amounts on donation behavior in online donation platform

FAN Yafeng1, JIANG Jing2(), CUI Wenquan3   

  1. 1 School of Business and management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    2 School of Business, Renmin University, Beijing 100872, China
    3 China Mobile Internet Co., Ltd., Guangzhou 510640, China
  • Received:2017-07-16 Online:2019-02-22 Published:2019-04-25
  • Contact: JIANG Jing


本文探讨了在网络公益背景下默认选项金额对个人捐赠意愿的影响及其心理机制。通过4个实验, 本文发现在网络公益平台中将默认选项设置为高金额会显著地减少个人的捐赠意愿, 而感知被操控在该影响过程中起到了中介作用。具体而言, 当公益机构将默认选项的金额设置为高金额(vs. 低金额)时, 人们的被操控感知增强, 进而捐赠意愿降低, 产生了默认效应的反作用。此外, 个体道德认同水平在这一影响中发挥了调节作用。当个体道德认同水平较低时, 高金额默认选项(vs. 低金额默认选项)会降低其捐赠意愿, 而对于道德认同水平较高的个体而言, 他们的捐赠意愿在高/低金额默认选项时不存在显著差异。研究结论推进了默认效应在捐赠决策领域的理论研究, 同时对于当前快速发展的网络公益平台进行捐赠金额的设置具有重要的实践意义。

关键词: 默认选项, 感知被操控, 捐赠意愿, 道德认同水平, 默认效应反作用


Increasingly, people are turning to the online donation platform as their preferred means of giving. Thus, determining how donors’ donation intention on the web can be improved has been increasingly emphasized. However, few studies have explored how the option settings of online donation platform affect individuals’ donation behavior. Based on the literature of default effect and marketplace metacognition, we proposed that default amounts (high vs. low) have negative effect on donation intention in an online call-for-donation message. High default amounts (vs. low default amounts) led to lower donation intention, because it triggered individuals’ perceived inference of manipulation. This study also examined the moderating role of individuals’ moral identity in the aforementioned effect.

Four studies were conducted to test the hypotheses. Study 1 was designed to test the main effect of default amounts on donation behavior. Participants were assigned randomly to two conditions (high vs. low amount) in the lab setting. They first read a call-for-donation message that introduced a fictitious donation request (to build libraries) from a fictitious online charitable organization. Four amount options were then presented with ¥12 as default in the high amount condition and ¥5 in the low amount condition. Finally, their donation intentions and actual donation behavior were measured. Study 2 validated the results of Study 1 by conducting a field study among part-time MBA students. In Study 3, we employed a three-group (default option: high-amount vs. low-amount vs. no default) between-subjects design to examine the mediating role of perceived inference of manipulation, while ruling out the potential explanations of reactance and emotions. Study 3 was conducted online using a different donation message. Study 4 examined further the moderating role of individual’s moral identity using a two (default option: high-amount vs. low-amount) × two (moral identity: high vs. low) between-subjects design. Moral identity was manipulated by instructing participants to copy nine moral-related words (vs. ordinary words) twice and write a related story.

In line with our predictions, high default amounts (vs. low default amounts) led to lower donation intention and lower donation amounts, driven by perceived inference of manipulation. This effect was robust by using both student and non-student samples, different call-for-donation messages, and different default amounts. Our results also revealed the significant moderating role of moral identity. The default amount effect was only significant when individuals were primed with low moral identity (vs. high moral identity).

Our findings contribute to literature in several different areas. First, by examining how default amount influences individual’s donation behavior, this research extends the default effect in the donation decision area. Second, our findings shed light on the default effect by exploring the backfire effect and its underlying mechanism of default options. Third, the current research contributes to donation decision literature by proposing that options settings (i.e., default amount) is a meaningful influencing factor that may elicit a negative effect on donation. Finally, we also extend the application of moral consistent theories in default effect research.

Key words: default amounts, perceived inference of manipulation, donation intention, moral identity, (backfire) default effect