Funded seed 2024

Boredom and the value of consumption

Sergio Pirla (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University)

A growing literature investigates the impact of boredom – the aversive experience of wanting but being unable to engage in a satisfying activity (Eastwood et al., 2012) – on different consumption choices (Havermans et al., 2015, Dal Mas and Wittman, 2017). For instance, past work has shown that boredom leads to the pursuit of novel experiences, even negative ones (Wilson et al. 2014; Havermans et al., 2015; Nederkoorn et al. 2016), that it motivates consumers to pay higher prices for entertainment (Dal Mas and Wittman, 2017), or that it increases food consumption (Havermans et al., 2015). Yet, while the literature on boredom and consumption choice is growing, we know very little of how this emotion impacts the consumption experience itself.

In this project, I’ll provide an approximation at understanding the role of boredom on the experience of consumption by investigating whether boredom increases the hedonic value of subsequent consumption experiences. That is, whether boredom leads to a higher consumption enjoyment. The results of this project will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the hedonic component of consumption, offering important insights for consumers, organizations, and regulatory authorities.

Can perceived inequality in climate change responsibility influence attitudes towards climate policy?

Giulia Priolo (Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: Laila Nockur (Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University)

Climate change is a compelling challenge and requires global cooperation for resolution. However, its complexity is compounded by inequalities among nations and climate change mitigation can be viewed as a large-scale social dilemma (Van Lange et al., 2018). Moreover, these inequalities extend beyond economic disparities, encompassing consequences and responsibilities. Prior research demonstrated that perceived inequality can impact policy attitudes, but existing studies primarily focus on economic inequality and redistribution (Bavetta et al., 2022), while the exploration of the effects of inequality, encompassing various dimensions, on climate policy is still lacking (Drews & Van der Berg, 2016). This project aims at filling this gap by investigating whether perceived inequality in the global distribution of responsibility for climate change can influence attitude toward climate policy. Specifically, the study explores whether making citizens aware of how unequally climate change responsibility is distributed globally (i.e., by showing emissions data from most vs least polluting countries, and their country’s relative contribution, vs control) can increase support for governmental interventions and whether individual difference (e.g., in climate change risk perception, political orientation or environmental values) can influence this effect. Results from this study may inform communication strategies to increase public support for climate policies.

How do different organizational decision-structures shape corrupt collaborations? Exploring the role of diffusion and displacement of responsibility

Mathilde H. Tønnesen (Department of Management, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: John A. Michael (Department of Philosophy, Milan University), Panagiotis Mitkidis (Department of Management, Aarhus University)

Research on collaborative corruption has shown that people working together increases dishonesty compared to when they work alone. Some theoretical explanations are that when working in groups, people may reduce their own personal agency by either diffusing responsibility among their group members or displacing the responsibility onto others. However, despite such mechanisms being particularly relevant in organizational settings, no studies have directly investigated how different organizational structures may facilitate or impede collaborative dishonesty by providing different opportunities for diffusion and/or displacement of responsibility for organizational members.

A recent study by Rilke and colleagues (2021) found that triads that made the decision simultaneously reported more dishonestly (flat structure) than when triads made decisions sequentially (hierarchical structure). However, the mechanism remains unclear. Does a flatter structure lead to higher levels of reduced agency through diffusion, thereby making it easier to report dishonestly? Or does a hierarchical structure allow the subordinates to displace responsibility onto the decision-leader? And can these mechanisms act in unison to facilitate corruption? Through a series of experiments, we explore how the different decision-making structures are related to various agency-reduction mechanisms, thereby providing new important theoretical and practical knowledge in the effort to reduce collaborative corrupt behaviors in organizations.

Political Polarization and Corporate Social Responsibility Perceptions: Can Positive versus Negative Message Framing be An Antidote to Motivated Reasoning?

Antonios Tiganis (Department of Management, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: Polymeros Chrysochou (Department of Management, Aarhus University), Panagiotis Mitkidis (Department of Management, Aarhus University), Frank Mathmann (School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, Queensland University of Technology, Australia)

Considerable emphasis within consumer research has been dedicated to the examination of political ideology's impact on consumer preferences and behaviors pertaining to sustainable and ethical consumption. Previous research has elucidated a perceived apathy among conservatives toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, this stands in contrast to numerous studies that provide evidence supporting conservatives' pro-social inclinations. Our conjecture posits that the reception of a brand's CSR is contingent upon its framing, whereby a negative portrayal contradicts conservatives' beliefs in hierarchical structures and a free-market ethos, prompting them to reject such messages. Conversely, when CSR is presented positively, conservatives are more likely to resonate with the message, aligning with their values. This phenomenon is attributed to motivated reasoning, where consumers are driven to embrace beliefs that align with their pre-existing convictions. Consequently, conservatives tend to dismiss information challenging their belief in hierarchy, while liberals may exhibit skepticism towards content praising social hierarchies. Notably, the influence of these effects may be contingent on the information source, with sources aligned with conservative viewpoints potentially convincing conservatives of a firm's unethical conduct. Conversely, liberal sources portraying CSR negatively may elicit resistance from conservatives.

Revisiting regulatory fit and its effect on honesty: A replication attempt

Karolina A. Ścigała (Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: Christoph Schild (Department of Psychology, University of Münster) and Stefan Pfattheicher (Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University)

Regulatory fit theory has offered a prominent perspective on self-regulatory orientation that has been studied in various domains of psychology. Recently, Achar and Lee (2022) found that regulatory fit might also play an important role in the moral domain. In particular, they found that regulatory fit intensifies people’s (im)moral predisposition toward a range of behaviors and judgments across moral domains. We conducted three well-powered and preregistered close and conceptual replications (overall N = 3,150) in which we aimed to replicate and extend this line of research using honesty as a prominent example of moral behavior. In neither of our studies we found support for the proposed interaction between moral predispositions (as assessed via Moral Disengagement and Honesty-Humility) and the experience of regulatory fit on dishonest behaviors and intentions. We that further research is needed to clarify the relations between regulatory fit, moral predispositions and honesty.

The effects of group punishment on unethical economic behavior

Janis Zickfeld (Department of Management, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: Christian T. Elbæk (Department of Management, Aarhus University), Thais Cardarelli (Department of Economics, Aarhus University), Karolina A. Ścigała (Department of Psychology, Aarhus University), Panagiotis Mitkidis (Department of Management, Aarhus University), Stefan Pfattheicher (Department of Psychology, Aarhus University).

Dishonest behavior, such as tax fraud, is a widespread phenomenon imposing high costs on corporations and society at large and recent studies have provided evidence that external punishments can be valuable tools in reducing dishonesty. However, the effect of punishment on dishonesty is not straight-forward and there is limited knowledge on how it affects ethical decision making in a group context. Consequently, the current project focuses on two major goals to test the effects of group punishment. First, it investigates if punishment has a different effect when it is directed towards individuals compared to when it's directed towards the group as a whole (i.e., the type of punishment, who is the target?). Second, it investigates whether such effects differ if decision making is performed individually or within groups (i.e., the type of decision structure). We predict that punishment mitigates unethical behavior and increases compliance overall. Further, we predict that group punishments are more effective than individual punishments and most effective for group decisions. Addressing these questions will advance the state-of-the-art knowledge of the effect of punishment on unethical behavior and provide practical knowledge whether specific contexts and penalties need to be designed in line with decision structures.

Uncovering common cognitive processes of creativity and exploration

Bart Verwaeren (Department of Management, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: Oana Vuculescu (Department of Management, AU), Carsten Bergenholtz (Department of Management, Aarhus University)

Scholars in psychology and organizational behavior spend a great deal of effort studying creativity, the generation of new and useful ideas. Scholars in organization studies (strategy, innovation) have extensively studied exploration, finding or learning about new knowledge domains. While these two concepts seem intrinsically connected (they both deal with novelty), they are also different (finding novelty vs. creating novelty, respectively), thus it remains unclear to what degree there is conceptual overlap. In this project, we will investigate whether creativity and exploration are overlapping constructs, drawing from a common underlying latent cognitive factor, or they are indeed separate concepts that should not be expected to meaningfully covary. To this end, we will conduct several studies in which individuals complete both creativity and exploration tasks. Through factor analysis, we will subsequently investigate the underlying factor structure, to detect common variance. The outcome of this work will have important implications for theoretical and empirical work for both the creativity and exploration fields.

Using Nostalgia Advertising to Promote Parent-Child Play

Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman (Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus University)

Collaborators: Mary Koch (Department of Psychology, University of Florida), Susan Bluck (Department of Psychology, University of Florida)

Childhood is often associated with freedom from responsibility and enjoying the wonder of play. Unfortunately, the amount of time that children spend playing is declining due to increased time in school, overemphasis on structured activities, and rising views of childhood as a time for resume building. Advocacy efforts to address this issue often encourage parents to engage in playful parenting either through games/toys, guided play, or free play. Nostalgia advertising has been effectively used in marketing products, including toys. It also has potential for delivering public health messages, like the importance of play in child development. Nostalgia-evoking tasks have been shown effective in promoting exercise, healthy eating, help-seeking behaviours (for depression), and donating to charity. Accordingly, there is a need to investigate the effectiveness of nostalgic messages to promote parent-child play. The proposed experimental pre-registered online studies compare effects of using nostalgic advertisements to cue autobiographical memories across from childhood vs. adolescence vs. a present-day control condition), to market a toy (Study 1) and to encourage parent-child play (Study 2), using an identical between groups pre-test, post-test design. Study 1 focuses on intent to purchase a toy and Study 2 focuses directly on encouraging play behavior.