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Exemplars and the Application of the Desert Heuristic When Responding to Fundraising Attempts
Unformatted Document Text:  21 affirmative. The results obtained in this study provide evidence for the application of the desert heuristic in certain circumstances. Applying the desert heuristic appeared not to be sensitive to whether participants were familiar with the organization, or whether the desert heuristic had been primed before reading the fundraising letter. These data were gathered using fundraising letters for different organizations and using different operationalisation of the exemplar. Each of the effects mentioned above is found for at least two different fundraising organizations and at least two different exemplar operationalisation. Furthermore, the participants in Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 show wide variation in age and level of education (although the results can only be generalized to second class passengers). Participants in Experiment 4 were even from different countries. Therefore, the conclusion that the desert heuristic can be added to the list of heuristics used in processing a message is warranted. Notes 1. One would expect that the exemplar’s responsibility manipulation would have less impact if people were personally acquainted with someone suffering from the disease. Such direct knowledge may override the effect of the case report on the construction of the stereotypical image. If this line of reasoning is correct, one would expect the exemplar manipulation to have a stronger effect for the kind of disease affecting persons with whom fewer participants were personally acquainted. This proved not to be the case. More participants (61.0%) reported personally knowing someone suffering from asthma, whereas only 7.9% percent of the participants knew someone suffering from Aids. Nevertheless, the responsibility manipulation did effect the responsibility perception for each kind of disease. Moreover, a desert heuristic effect was only obtained for the asthma fundraising letter. 2. Cross-cultural research has documented cultural differences in the use of scale extremes (Van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). Such cultural differences may hinder the interpretation of differences among cultures. Therefore, we assessed whether the Dutch and Flemish participants differed with respect to their use of scale extremes. For each participant, it was assessed whether he or she had ticked either the “1” or the “7”. Next, a chi square was computed to test whether the Dutch or the Flemish participants used the extremes more often. This proved not to be the case (“eigen schuld, dikke bult”: χ 2 (1) = 0.97, p = .33; “wie zijn billen heeft gebrand, moet op de blaren zitten”: χ 2 (1) = 1.27, p = .30). 3. Given the unequal number of male and female participants per country, we conducted more robust non-parametric (Mann-Whitney) tests to assess whether there were indeed no differences in agreement with the proverbs between men and women for each country separately. Similarly, these tests did not reveal any significant differences (p’s > .33). 4. There was one exception. The interaction between proverb priming and nationality proved significant (Wilks’ λ = .963, F (3, 209) = 2.68, p < .05). However, subsequent univariate analyses revealed only marginally significant interactions for general responsibility perception (F (1, 211) = 2.84, p = .09) as well as for the amount of money (F (1, 211) = 3.62, p = .06). Inspection of the means showed that the Flemish participants generally held patients less responsible and gave less money when the proverbs preceded the fundraising letter than when they followed the fundraising letter, whereas the opposite pattern held for

Authors: Hoeken, Hans. and Hustinx, Lettica.
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21
affirmative. The results obtained in this study provide evidence for the application of the
desert heuristic in certain circumstances. Applying the desert heuristic appeared not to be
sensitive to whether participants were familiar with the organization, or whether the desert
heuristic had been primed before reading the fundraising letter. These data were gathered
using fundraising letters for different organizations and using different operationalisation of
the exemplar. Each of the effects mentioned above is found for at least two different
fundraising organizations and at least two different exemplar operationalisation. Furthermore,
the participants in Experiment 2 and Experiment 3 show wide variation in age and level of
education (although the results can only be generalized to second class passengers).
Participants in Experiment 4 were even from different countries. Therefore, the conclusion
that the desert heuristic can be added to the list of heuristics used in processing a message
is warranted.
Notes

1. One would expect that the exemplar’s responsibility manipulation would have less
impact if people were personally acquainted with someone suffering from the disease. Such
direct knowledge may override the effect of the case report on the construction of the
stereotypical image. If this line of reasoning is correct, one would expect the exemplar
manipulation to have a stronger effect for the kind of disease affecting persons with whom
fewer participants were personally acquainted. This proved not to be the case. More
participants (61.0%) reported personally knowing someone suffering from asthma, whereas
only 7.9% percent of the participants knew someone suffering from Aids. Nevertheless, the
responsibility manipulation did effect the responsibility perception for each kind of disease.
Moreover, a desert heuristic effect was only obtained for the asthma fundraising letter.

2. Cross-cultural research has documented cultural differences in the use of scale
extremes (Van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). Such cultural differences may hinder the
interpretation of differences among cultures. Therefore, we assessed whether the Dutch and
Flemish participants differed with respect to their use of scale extremes. For each participant,
it was assessed whether he or she had ticked either the “1” or the “7”. Next, a chi square was
computed to test whether the Dutch or the Flemish participants used the extremes more
often. This proved not to be the case (“eigen schuld, dikke bult”:
χ
2
(1) = 0.97, p = .33; “wie
zijn billen heeft gebrand, moet op de blaren zitten”:
χ
2
(1) = 1.27, p = .30).

3. Given the unequal number of male and female participants per country, we conducted
more robust non-parametric (Mann-Whitney) tests to assess whether there were indeed no
differences in agreement with the proverbs between men and women for each country
separately. Similarly, these tests did not reveal any significant differences (p’s > .33).

4. There was one exception. The interaction between proverb priming and nationality
proved significant (Wilks’
λ
= .963, F (3, 209) = 2.68, p < .05). However, subsequent
univariate analyses revealed only marginally significant interactions for general responsibility
perception (F (1, 211) = 2.84, p = .09) as well as for the amount of money (F (1, 211) = 3.62,
p = .06). Inspection of the means showed that the Flemish participants generally held
patients less responsible and gave less money when the proverbs preceded the fundraising
letter than when they followed the fundraising letter, whereas the opposite pattern held for


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