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Does Being Rejected Increase Charitable Behavior
February 1, 2012

Being rejected might not be good in the dating world, but it can be beneficial to charitable organizations according to a study published by a marketing faculty member and former doctoral student at UTSA College of Business in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The study examined two different types of social exclusion: being ignored versus being rejected—and their effects on conspicuous consumption and charitable behavior. 

Researchers simulated an exchange in which participants felt they were being ignored or rejected as part of an online chat session.  Immediately following this study, they were then quizzed on their preferences for various types of clothing brands and asked about their willingness to help or donate money in different situations.

“The conclusions were consistent across all of the experiments,” said L. J. Shrum, professor of marketing at UTSA.  “Being ignored increased an individual’s preference for conspicuous consumption; being rejected increased one’s propensity for charitable behavior.”

According to the researchers, different types of social exclusion heighten different insecurities, which in turn results in different types of behavior to repair those insecurities. 

“Social exclusion is relatively new to marketing and has just started gaining attention in our field,” said Jaehoon Lee, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Houston-Clear Lake who conducted the study as part of his doctoral dissertation.  “It is well known that people have a fundamental need to belong, so social exclusion is clearly one of the strongest psychological threats to people.”

Wendy Frost—

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