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Exemplars and the Application of the Desert Heuristic When Responding to Fundraising Attempts
Unformatted Document Text:  13 results of the pre-test. For each of these four letters, two new versions were constructed which differed only with respect to the fundraising organization that sent those letters. One version contained the well-known Dutch organizations (Aids Fund, Asthma Fund) The other two contained new organizations (Aids Foundation, Asthma Foundation). In the latter versions, it was explicitly stated that the organization had been recently founded. Participants A total of 288 participants took part in the experiment (50.4% women, 49.6% men). The ages ranged from 16 to 74, with an average age of 24 years. Levels of education ranged from elementary school only to a completed college degree. At random, each participant received one versions a fundraising letter. Questionnaire A brief questionnaire was printed on the reverse side of the letter. The questionnaire contained the same items as the one in Experiment 2. Again, the attitude and the text evaluation measurements proved to be reliable (Attitude: Cronbach’s = . 83; Text evaluation: Cronbach’s = .77 ). One item was added to the questionnaire, namely whether the participant was familiar with the fundraising organization. Procedure The procedure was similar to the one employed in the second experiment. That is, the participants were rail passengers. After filling out the questionnaire and handing it in, the participants were told about the study’s goal and any remaining questions they had were answered. Results First, we tested whether the existing organizations were indeed better known than the fictitious ones. A 2 x 2 analysis of variance was carried out using “kind of disease” and “known organization” as factors. The only significant effect was the main effect of “known organization”: F (1, 284) = 25.5 4, p < .001, 2 = .08). The main effect of kind of disease (F (1, 284) = 1.29, p = .26), and the interaction (F < 1) were not significant. Second, we tested whether the responsibility manipulation had been successful. To that end, a 2 x 2 x 2 analysis of variance was carried out using “kind of disease”, “known organization”, and “responsibility manipulation” as factors and “responsibility for trouble” as its dependent variable. As in the previous experiments, the responsibility manipulation proved successful (F (1, 280) = 147.93, p < .001, 2 = .35). There was also a main effect of “kind of disease” (F (1, 280) = 17.21, p < .001, 2 = .06); people suffering from asthma were held less responsible (M = 2.78, SD = 1.96) than people having contracted Aids (M = 3.60, SD = 2.17). These main effects were qualified by a significant interaction between the responsibility and kind of disease factors (F (1, 280) = 4.75, p < .05, 2 = .02). The interaction was the result of the fact that the responsibility manipulation had a larger effect for the Aids victims (Responsible: M = 5.01, SD = 1.74; Not responsible: M = 2.18, SD = 1.55) than for

Authors: Hoeken, Hans. and Hustinx, Lettica.
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results of the pre-test. For each of these four letters, two new versions were constructed
which differed only with respect to the fundraising organization that sent those letters. One
version contained the well-known Dutch organizations (Aids Fund, Asthma Fund) The other
two contained new organizations (Aids Foundation, Asthma Foundation). In the latter
versions, it was explicitly stated that the organization had been recently founded.
Participants

A total of 288 participants took part in the experiment (50.4% women, 49.6% men). The ages
ranged from 16 to 74, with an average age of 24 years. Levels of education ranged from
elementary school only to a completed college degree. At random, each participant received
one versions a fundraising letter.
Questionnaire

A brief questionnaire was printed on the reverse side of the letter. The questionnaire
contained the same items as the one in Experiment 2. Again, the attitude and the text
evaluation measurements proved to be reliable (Attitude:
Cronbach’s = .
83; Text evaluation:
Cronbach’s = .77
). One item was added to the questionnaire, namely whether the
participant was familiar with the fundraising organization.
Procedure

The procedure was similar to the one employed in the second experiment. That is, the
participants were rail passengers. After filling out the questionnaire and handing it in, the
participants were told about the study’s goal and any remaining questions they had were
answered.
Results

First, we tested whether the existing organizations were indeed better known than the
fictitious ones. A 2 x 2 analysis of variance was carried out using “kind of disease” and
“known organization” as factors. The only significant effect was the main effect of “known
organization”: F (1, 284) = 25.5
4, p < .001,
2
= .08). The main effect of kind of disease (F (1,
284) = 1.29, p = .26), and the interaction (F < 1) were not significant.
Second, we tested whether the responsibility manipulation had been successful. To that
end, a 2 x 2 x 2 analysis of variance was carried out using “kind of disease”, “known
organization”, and “responsibility manipulation” as factors and “responsibility for trouble” as
its dependent variable. As in the previous experiments, the responsibility manipulation
proved successful (F (1, 280) = 147.93, p < .001,
2
= .35). There was also a main effect of
“kind of disease” (F (1, 280) = 17.21, p < .001,
2
= .06); people suffering from asthma were
held less responsible (M = 2.78, SD = 1.96) than people having contracted Aids (M = 3.60,
SD = 2.17). These main effects were qualified by a significant interaction between the
responsibility and kind of disease factors (F (1, 280) = 4.75, p < .05,
2
= .02). The interaction
was the result of the fact that the responsibility manipulation had a larger effect for the Aids
victims (Responsible: M = 5.01, SD = 1.74; Not responsible: M = 2.18, SD = 1.55) than for


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