Nav: Home

Boost fundraising with something simple: Sandpaper

March 25, 2016

Not getting enough charitable donations? Try having people to touch sandpaper before you ask for money. A new study shows that touching rough surfaces triggers the emotion of empathy, which motivates people to donate to non-profit organizations.

"We found that when people were experiencing mild discomfort as a result of touching a rough surface, they were more aware of discomfort in their immediate environment," said Chen Wang, an assistant marketing professor at Drexel University in Pennsylvania. "They could better empathize with individuals who were suffering."

Their findings are available online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. In one experiment, the team tested brain activity when participants viewed painful versus neutral images. In some trials the participants held an object wrapped in sandpaper -- known as haptic roughness -- while they saw the pictures. In other trials they held an object wrapped in smooth paper. The participants showed more brain activity when touching the sandpaper than the smooth paper, particularly when viewing the painful images.

In another experiment the researchers asked one group of participants to wash their hands with a smooth soap and the other with a rough, exfoliating solution. Then each group filled out questionnaires rating their willingness to donate to a charity. The group that had used the rough hand wash was more willing than the soft soap group to donate to a lesser-known foundation that supports people who suffer from Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease in which the white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands.

This difference between the groups did not occur when participants rated their willingness to give to the well-known National Breast Cancer Foundation. Familiarity with a charity overrode the effect of haptic roughness, Wang said.

The findings could have significant implications for less well-known charities that are trying to raise money, according to the study.

"Often smaller charities invest a lot of money in advertising to build awareness, but our data suggests that introducing haptic roughness into outreach materials could be an innovative and cost-effective approach," she said.

Wang suggested that these organizations could include rough-textured material in mailers or wrap clipboards in sandpaper. This strategy could improve donation levels for the 30 percent of smaller non-profits nationwide that raise less than $100,000 in donations annually, according to the Urban Institute.

"The goal of our work is to make a social impact," Wang said. "It's critical to identify novel approaches to meet the massive humanitarian needs in our complex, modern world, and I hope we have done that."
-end-
See more at: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-consumer-psychology/forthcoming-articles/experiencing-haptic-roughness-promotes-empathy/

The study will appear in the July issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

For more information, contact:

Chen Wang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Drexel University
Tel: 215-571-3546
Email: chen.wang635@drexel.edu

Society for Consumer Psychology

Related Brain Activity Articles:

More brain activity is not always better when it comes to memory and attention
Potential new ways of understanding the cause of cognitive impairments, such as problems with memory and attention, in brain disorders including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's are under the spotlight in a new research review.
Researchers to predict cognitive dissonance according to brain activity
A new study by HSE researchers has uncovered a new brain mechanism that generates cognitive dissonance -- a mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs or values, or experiences difficulties in making decisions.
Brain activity can be used to predict reading success up to 2 years in advance
By measuring brainwaves, it is possible to predict what a child's reading level will be years in advance, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
There's a close association between magnetic systems and certain states of brain activity
Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) have proven for the first time that there is a close relationship between several emerging phenomena in magnetic systems (greatly studied by condensed matter physicists) and certain states of brain activity.
Hormone can enhance brain activity associated with love and sex
The hormone kisspeptin can enhance activity in brain regions associated with sexual arousal and romantic love, according to new research.
More Brain Activity News and Brain Activity Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...