Adelle X. Yang and Christopher K. Hsee “Brag-Binding: When Mandatory Self-Promotion Increases Charitable Acts” (Under 2nd round review)

Abstract: Charity campaigns strive to encourage conspicuous giving by employing self-promotion devices, such as donor pins, logoed apparel, and social media hashtags, to garner both contributions to and awareness of their charitable causes. However, encouraging the use of self-promotion devices may not be effective at facilitating either goal because people often feel conflicted about self-promoting their charity involvement, fearing that observers will infer image motives instead of genuine concern for the charitable cause. This research examines a counterintuitive charity recruitment strategy that effectively resolves these concerns and leverages donors’ image motives for the greater good. Six studies (N = 10,600), including a large-scale field study, demonstrate that campaign participation increases when a charity campaign makes the donors’ self-promotion of their charity involvement mandatory instead of voluntary. Examination of the underlying psychological mechanism reveals that mandating self-promotion legitimizes conspicuous giving and changes the anticipated attribution of conspicuous giving, thus assuaging concerns about unfavorable attributional inferences. Boundary conditions are tested and policy implications are discussed.

Adelle X. Yang and Oleg Urminsky. "Agent's Impatience: A Self-Other Decision Model of Intertemporal Choices"

(Invited for resubmission)

Abstract: Intertemporal choices represent one of the most common and fundamental trade-offs in consumer decision-making. How do intertemporal choices made for another person differ from similar choices made for oneself? To examine this question, the present research introduces the first integrative self-other decision model and experimentally tests five model-derived hypotheses. This model distinguishes between the psychological processes associated with vicarious versus reactive utility and highlights the pivotal role of anticipated affective reaction in interpersonal decision-making. Seven experiments and two additional replications reveal consistent results supporting model predictions. In particular, the results show that an intertemporal choice for a specified other person tends to reveal more impatience than an otherwise identical choice for oneself, contrary to what has previously been assumed, predicted, and reported in studies using abstract and unspecified others as recipients. This “agent's impatience” is moderated by decision characteristics, including the anticipated timing of the recipient’s affective reaction, the affective value of the choice options, and decision responsibility. This research provides critical insights and opens new avenues for research into intertemporal choices and interpersonal decision-making.

Adelle X. Yang, Babu Gounder, and Rajesh Bagchi, "The Starting Problem and the Jumpstart Effect" (Under review)

Abstract: Many goal pursuits fail at the stage of commencement. Even when the first task is well within one’s capabilities, the thought of taking the first step can feel so daunting that people procrastinate or fail to start. How can people overcome their dread of starting and more promptly commence goal pursuits? We seek to understanding this starting problem and offer a remedy. We propose that the dread of starting may be better understood by integrating the models of actional phases with theories of mental representation. We demonstrate the dread of starting in a pilot study. Moreover, based on this integrated framework, we propose “jumpstart” interventions that leverages perceptual cues to facilitate goal commencement. We examine the effectiveness of the jumpstart interventions in four experiments with behavioral consequences for a variety of goals (e.g., academic performance, lifestyle, fitness). These studies also reveal additional insights on the underlying mechanism and corroborate our theorization. In sum, this research documents the dread of starting, suggests a practical intervention for the insidious and pervasive goal commencement failures, and offers a new perspective on related prior findings.  

Adelle X. Yang, Minjung Koo, and Jaewon Hwang. “Remember Me”: Misprediction and Misuse of Mnemonic Devices for Bonding" (Under review)

Abstract: People often employ salient physical objects to aid memory retention and prompt memory retrieval. While the intrapersonal use of external mnemonic devices is widely documented, little research has shed light on their interpersonal use. Across six experiments, we find that gift-givers intuitively pick external mnemonic devices as gifts and overpredict the extent to which mnemonic gifts will facilitate bonding, yet receivers do not welcome these gifts as much as the givers expect. This giver-receiver preference discrepancy is no longer observed when gifts will be associated with negative emotions in memory, nor when relationship bonding is not the primary motive of gift-giving. These findings suggest that interpersonal memory management strategies via mnemonic devices may give rise to pervasive preference matching failures and inefficient resource allocation. This research uncovers a common yet previously overlooked interpersonal phenomenon and sheds new light on the paradoxes of interpersonal decision-making.

Oleg Urminsky, Adelle X. Yang and Lilly Kofler, “Outcome Neglect: Expected Value Maximization Failure in A Simple Game”. (Manuscript in preparation for submission)

Abstract: Expected value maximization is a straightforward idea. However, most people fail to use expected value maximization as the optimal strategy in a simple guessing game: After a prize is randomly determined from a discrete range (e.g., $1 to $1000) at equal probability, a person has one shot to guess the prize, and wins the prize if she guesses the correct amount. The optimal strategy is to guess the highest amount (e.g., guessing $1000), given the equal probability of each outcome. However, people considerably deviate from this optimal strategy in real radio contests, in various lab experiments using lottery tickets and dice rolls, and even among experts – attendees at a decision research conference. Suboptimal strategies are reduced, but not eliminated, with repeated plays, task simplification and statistical or economic training.  These findings challenge the view of expected value maximization as a default decision rule.