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Lab of Misfits
Science of Giving

This is part of the Human perceptionprogramme



Experiment 3

For this experiment, run at the Lates in February 2012, we wanted to increase the attention that the women paid to the amount that the men donated. We predicted that making women enter the amount the men donated before rating them would increase the effect we were seeing from Altruism and Attractiveness Part I (that a man who donates more money gets a lower attractiveness rating as a result).

We also wanted to double check that this effect wasn't the result of young (and therefore relatively more attractive) men donating less money. We'd run a study on this outside the environment of the Lates, and we needed to see if late data matched it.

Our hypothesis was that increasing the salience of the donation data displayed to women would increase the negative correlation between donation amount and perceived attractiveness in males.

Significant findings
There was no increase in the correlation, so our prediction wasn't borne out by the data. What was nice, however, was that we got almost exactly the same results as before (i.e. the strength of the correlation was very similar) and that on removing the donation data from the photographs the correlation disappeared, indicating that our original conclusions were valid and that our follow up study in the lab could be used as part of the story.

So to recap: the more that men donated the less attractive they were found to be by women rating them. This is the opposite of what most other studies find, and we think it's because of the 'real' social environment and the fact that, in contrast to most other studies, men are using their own money to play our altruism game. We think that this means the 'signal' is interpreted in a much more complex way by women.

Summary of findings
• High salience condition (women enter the amount men have donated before rating them): results in negative correlation between donation and attractiveness
• No donation condition (donation data was removed from the faces): now there's no correlation between donation and average rating that the males receive.

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