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Identified versus Statistical LivesAn Interdisciplinary Perspective$
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I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, and Nir Eyal

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217471.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

On the Psychology of the Identifiable Victim Effect

On the Psychology of the Identifiable Victim Effect

Chapter:
(p.13) 1 On the Psychology of the Identifiable Victim Effect
Source:
Identified versus Statistical Lives
Author(s):

Deborah A. Small

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217471.003.0002

This chapter reviews the literature from psychology on aid allocation decisions—focusing specifically on the “identifiable victim effect.” The goal is to build a bridge between what the research from psychology and other disciplines tells us about the effect and the normative discussions that follow. The research goes beyond anecdotal contrasts between a certain legendary identifiable victim and overlooked statistical victims. Instead, controlled experiments test isolated psychological factors, including specificity, vividness, and proportion of a reference group. Thus, it paints a more complete picture of how human sympathy drives decision-making in ways that diverge from normative frameworks discussed elsewhere.

Keywords:   identifiable victim effect, statistical victims, resource allocation, aid allocation, psychology

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