Can you feel their pain? Examining the relationship between the mental simulation of visceral states and the willingness to donate to a charitable organization
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- Master of Science 
People's behavior is heavily influenced by the visceral state they are experiencing. Previous research has found that mental simulation can act as substitute for real experiences. This study combines these two concepts and examines the relationship between the mental simulation of visceral states within a charitable giving scenario. In two studies, we have evaluated whether mentally simulating two states — hunger and cold — will affect participants’ willingness to donate to the charity that seeks to help those suffering from a condition caused by that state. After engaging in the mental simulation exercise, participants of Study 1, were given the opportunity to evaluate and allocate a donation to four real charitable organizations. In Study 2, participants were presented with four hypothetical charities and they were also informed that they could keep the hypothetical funds they chose not to donate. Results from our studies yielded evidence that suggests the mental simulation condition, the vividness of their immersion, and the current bodily states of participants all have varying degrees of influence on donation decision-making behavior.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2018