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Exemplars and the Application of the Desert Heuristic When Responding to Fundraising Attempts
Unformatted Document Text:  5 Based on the results of the pre-test, three types of contamination were selected that differed and were statistically reliable with respect to their perceived responsibility for contracting Aids (F (2, 34) = 117.89, p < .001, η 2 = .87). People who got Aids because of their partner having a secret affair (M = 6.67, SD = 0.59) were held less responsible than people who got Aids because their partner did not always practice safe sex when single (M = 4.78, SD = 1.48), which in turn were held less responsible than people who got Aids because they had unsafe sex with multiple partners (M = 1.44, SD = 0.78). These results were used as input for the manipulation of the experimental material. The material Three versions of a fundraising letter for the Dutch Aids Fund were written. Content and structure were inspired by a fundraising advertisement published by the Aids Fund. In the first paragraph, the thirteenth Aids Memorial Day was announced. The second paragraph, the exemplar paragraph, tells the story of Marc, who suffers from Aids. In the third paragraph, the current situation in The Netherlands is discussed and it is noted that the number of Aids victims appears to increase. In the final paragraph, people are asked to donate money in order to stop Aids and help people suffering from Aids. (Appendix 1 contains a translation of the letter.) The three versions of the fundraising letter were identical except for one important detail -- the way in which Marc got Aids. The first version, the so-called “not-responsible” version, included the following information: Marc has Aids. He got it from his wife. She had had an affair with a colleague, but didn’t tell Marc about it. In the second version, the so-called “half-responsible” version, a different way of contamination was described: Marc has Aids. He got it from his wife. She had had other partners in the past, with whom. she did not always have safe sex. The third version, the “fully-responsible” version, ran as follows: Marc has Aids. He got it from a girlfriend. Marc had many different girlfriends, with whom he did not always have safe sex. The differences between the versions were kept to a minimum. The number of words and sentences was identical(in the Dutch version). The last sentence always contained a negation. Sex and the sexual preference of the patient were identical, because these factors influence the perceived responsibility for getting Aids (Borchert & Rickabaugh, 1995). Participants A total of 152 participants took part in the experiment (63.8% women, 36.2% men). The ages varied between 17 and 30, with an average age of 21 years. All participants were students. Participants received random versions of the fundraising letter. Questionnaire The reverse side of the letter contained a brief, printed questionnaire. The following dependent variables were measured.

Authors: Hoeken, Hans. and Hustinx, Lettica.
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background image
5
Based on the results of the pre-test, three types of contamination were selected that
differed and were statistically reliable with respect to their perceived responsibility for
contracting Aids (F (2, 34) = 117.89, p < .001,
η
2
= .87). People who got Aids because of
their partner having a secret affair (M = 6.67, SD = 0.59) were held less responsible than
people who got Aids because their partner did not always practice safe sex when single (M =
4.78, SD = 1.48), which in turn were held less responsible than people who got Aids because
they had unsafe sex with multiple partners (M = 1.44, SD = 0.78). These results were used
as input for the manipulation of the experimental material.
The material

Three versions of a fundraising letter for the Dutch Aids Fund were written. Content and
structure were inspired by a fundraising advertisement published by the Aids Fund. In the
first paragraph, the thirteenth Aids Memorial Day was announced. The second paragraph,
the exemplar paragraph, tells the story of Marc, who suffers from Aids. In the third
paragraph, the current situation in The Netherlands is discussed and it is noted that the
number of Aids victims appears to increase. In the final paragraph, people are asked to
donate money in order to stop Aids and help people suffering from Aids. (Appendix 1
contains a translation of the letter.)
The three versions of the fundraising letter were identical except for one important detail
-- the way in which Marc got Aids. The first version, the so-called “not-responsible” version,
included the following information:
Marc has Aids. He got it from his wife. She had had an affair with a colleague, but didn’t tell Marc about it.
In the second version, the so-called “half-responsible” version, a different way of
contamination was described:
Marc has Aids. He got it from his wife. She had had other partners in the past, with whom. she did not
always have safe sex.
The third version, the “fully-responsible” version, ran as follows:
Marc has Aids. He got it from a girlfriend. Marc had many different girlfriends, with whom he did not always
have safe sex.

The differences between the versions were kept to a minimum. The number of words and
sentences was identical(in the Dutch version). The last sentence always contained a
negation. Sex and the sexual preference of the patient were identical, because these factors
influence the perceived responsibility for getting Aids (Borchert & Rickabaugh, 1995).
Participants

A total of 152 participants took part in the experiment (63.8% women, 36.2% men). The ages
varied between 17 and 30, with an average age of 21 years. All participants were students.
Participants received random versions of the fundraising letter.
Questionnaire

The reverse side of the letter contained a brief, printed questionnaire. The following
dependent variables were measured.


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