The Face of Need: Reactions to Victims’ Emotion Expressions

Deborah A. Small, University of Pennsylvania
Nicole M. Verrochi, University of Pennsylvania
Advertisements for charities often display photographs of the people they help to evoke the kind of sympathy that engenders giving. This paper examines how the expression of emotion on a victim’s face affects both sympathy and giving. Building on theories of emotional contagion and empathy/sympathy we theorize and find (a) that people “catch” the emotions displayed on a victim’s face and (b) that they are particularly sympathetic and donate more when viewing sad expressions, relative to happy or neutral expressions.
[ to cite ]:
Deborah A. Small and Nicole M. Verrochi (2008) ,"The Face of Need: Reactions to Victims’ Emotion Expressions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 109-111.