Gershon, Rachel, Ariel Fridman, and Charlie Dorison "The Cost of Opposition: Harming our Own Rather than Helping our Opponent"

The Cost of Opposition: Harming our Own Rather than Helping our Opponent

Would you prefer to harm your own side of a cause or aid the opposing side? Across polarized causes (political party, abortion access, and gun control), participants given these unfavorable options consistently choose to harm their own side (N = 1,704). Attitude strength moderates this behavior; those who feel more strongly about an issue are more likely to harm their own group rather than provide equivalent help to the opposition. This preference for removing funding from our own side runs counter to normative theory, as individuals tend to believe that organizations supporting their cause spend their funds more efficiently than opposing organizations. We propose that these decisions are informed by perceived group norms – helping the opposition is a stronger violation of group norms than harming one’s own group. Shifting perceived norms leads to corresponding changes in individuals’ behavior. Implications for compromise and intergroup conflict are discussed.

Gershon, Rachel, and Rosanna K. Smith (2020). "Twice-told tales: Self-repetition decreases observer assessments of performer authenticity." Journal of personality and social psychology.

Twice-told tales: Self-repetition decreases observer assessments of performer authenticity

People often engage in self-repetition—repeating the same story, joke, or presentation across different audiences. While behaving consistently has generally been found to enhance perceptions of authenticity, 10 studies demonstrate that performers who are revealed to be self-repeating are perceived as less authentic. We find convergent evidence that this effect is driven by observers’ implicit assumption that social interactions are unique. Self-repetitions violate this assumption, leading observers to judge performers as inauthentic because they are thought to be falsely presenting their performance as unique when it is not. We find that observer awareness of self-repetition decreases perceived authenticity even in situations in which it is normative to repeat a performance and in which repetition is required. The decrease in authenticity is eliminated only when performers overtly acknowledge self-repetition, as performers are no longer viewed as falsely presenting themselves.

Gershon, Rachel, Cynthia Cryder, and Leslie John (2020). "Why Prosocial Referral Incentives Work: The Interplay of Reputational Benefits and Action Costs​." Journal of Marketing Research

Why Prosocial Referral Incentives Work: The Interplay of Reputational Benefits and Action Costs​

While selfish incentives typically outperform prosocial incentives, we show that in the context of customer referral rewards, prosocial incentives can be more effective. Companies frequently offer “selfish” (i.e., sender-benefiting) referral incentives, offering customers financial incentive for recruiting new customers. However, companies can alternatively offer “prosocial” (i.e., recipient-benefiting) referral incentives. In two field experiments and an incentive-compatible lab experiment, recipient-benefiting referrals, relative to sender-benefiting referrals, result in more new customers. In five subsequent experiments, we explain why this effect occurs.