The Scrooge Effect Revisited: Mortality Salience Increases the Satisfaction Derived from Prosocial Behavior

Tomasz Zaleśkiewicz , Agata Gąsiorowska , Pelin Kesebir


According to terror management theory, people deal with the potential for anxiety that results from the knowledge of the inevitability of death by holding on to sources of value that exist within their cultural worldview. Acting prosocially is one such source of value, and previous research suggests that reminders of mortality increase the desire for prosociality. In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that mortality reminders would lead to more generous allocation of financial resources and to more satisfaction derived from acting generously. Using the dictator game (Study 1), the ultimatum game (Study 2), and a quasi-naturalistic giving situation (Study 3) we showed that participants reminded of their mortality were not only more generous but also more satisfied the more money they donated. Moreover, Study 3 demonstrated that people reminded of their mortality derived higher satisfaction from prosocial behavior and such behavior was associated with better suppression of death-related thoughts. We conclude that acting prosocially in the face of mortality thoughts effectively soothes death anxiety and in turn produces psychological satisfaction. 
Author Tomasz Zaleśkiewicz (Wydział Zamiejscowy we Wrocławiu)
Tomasz Zaleśkiewicz,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy we Wrocławiu
, Agata Gąsiorowska (Wydział Zamiejscowy we Wrocławiu)
Agata Gąsiorowska,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy we Wrocławiu
, Pelin Kesebir
Pelin Kesebir,,
Journal seriesJournal of Experimental Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-1031, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2015
Publication size in sheets0
ASJC Classification3312 Sociology and Political Science; 3207 Social Psychology
Languageen angielski
The-Scrooge-effect-revisited.pdf of 14-09-2015
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Score (nominal)35
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2015 = 1.616; WoS Impact Factor: 2015 = 2.5 (2) - 2015=3.11 (5)
Citation count*43 (2021-02-26)
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