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Social Comparison in Decisions for Others

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044344/00001

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Title: Social Comparison in Decisions for Others Considering Multiple Gift Recipients Leads to Over-Individuated and Less Liked Gifts
Physical Description: 1 online resource (56 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Steffel, Mary L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: choice -- comparison -- context -- gift -- judgment
Marketing -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Business Administration thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This research examines how the social context in which a gift is selected influences gift choices. When people select gifts for multiple recipients, they tend to pass up gifts that would be better liked in favor of gifts that are uniquely suited to each recipient. This over-individuation arises because givers try to appear thoughtful and to convey an understanding of recipients' identities, and not simply because givers perceive recipients differently when they are considered together versus separately. Consistent with this, over-individuation is exacerbated when givers are more motivated to put thought into their gift selections (such as when selecting gifts for close friends) and when they devote a greater amount of time and thought to their gift selections. Over-individuation occurs despite the fact that givers rate maximizing recipient liking as their most important goal and persists even when givers know that recipients are unlikely to compare gifts. Focusing attention on recipient liking reduces over-individuation and can help givers to select better liked gifts.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Mary L Steffel.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Leboeuf, Robyn A.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044344:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044344/00001

Material Information

Title: Social Comparison in Decisions for Others Considering Multiple Gift Recipients Leads to Over-Individuated and Less Liked Gifts
Physical Description: 1 online resource (56 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Steffel, Mary L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: choice -- comparison -- context -- gift -- judgment
Marketing -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Business Administration thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This research examines how the social context in which a gift is selected influences gift choices. When people select gifts for multiple recipients, they tend to pass up gifts that would be better liked in favor of gifts that are uniquely suited to each recipient. This over-individuation arises because givers try to appear thoughtful and to convey an understanding of recipients' identities, and not simply because givers perceive recipients differently when they are considered together versus separately. Consistent with this, over-individuation is exacerbated when givers are more motivated to put thought into their gift selections (such as when selecting gifts for close friends) and when they devote a greater amount of time and thought to their gift selections. Over-individuation occurs despite the fact that givers rate maximizing recipient liking as their most important goal and persists even when givers know that recipients are unlikely to compare gifts. Focusing attention on recipient liking reduces over-individuation and can help givers to select better liked gifts.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Mary L Steffel.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Leboeuf, Robyn A.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044344:00001


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1 SOCIAL COMPARISON IN DECISIONS FOR OTHERS: CONSIDERING MULTIPLE GIFT RECIPIENTS LEADS TO OVER INDIVIDUATED AND LESS LIKED GIFTS By MARY STEFFEL A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 2012 Mary Steffel

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3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This dissertation would not have been possible without the support of many people. I am deeply grate ful to my adviser, Robyn LeBoeu f, for her insight, mentorship, and support. I am also grateful to Chris Janiszewski, Lyle Brenner, and John Chambers for their thoughtful feedback on this project and for their mentorship throughout my graduate experien ce. I am indebted to Ana Figueras, Danielle King, Mercedes Castro, and Gia Nardini for assistance with data collection, and to Joseph Simmons, Ann McGill, and four anonymous reviewers from the Journal of Consumer Research for their feedback on earlier draf ts of this dissertation. I owe a special debt of gratitude to my colleague and friend Elanor Williams for her insight and support on this and many other research projects. Finally, I thank my parents and friends for their love and support

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4 TABLE OF CONTEN TS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 3 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 7 LIST OF FIGURE S ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 9 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 10 Making Choices for Others ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 11 Over Individuation In Gift Giving ................................ ................................ .......................... 12 Perceptual Reasons for Differentiating Recipients ................................ .......................... 12 Differentiating Recipients Seems More Thoughtful ................................ ....................... 14 ................................ ................................ ................ 15 Research Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 17 2 STUDY 1: SELECTING UNIQUE BUT LESS APPEALING BIRTHDAY CARDS ......... 19 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 19 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 19 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 19 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 21 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 22 3 STUDY 2: GIVING UNIQUE BUT LESS LIKED MOVIES ................................ ............... 23 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 23 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 23 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 23 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 24 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 25 4 STUDY 3: GIVING UNIQUE BUT LESS PREFERRED BOOKS ................................ ...... 26 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 26 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 26 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 27 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 28 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 29

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5 5 STUDY 4: ARE RECIPIENTS PERCEIVED DIFFERENTLY WHEN PRESENTED TOGETHER? ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 30 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 30 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 30 Pr ocedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 31 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 32 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 33 6 STUDY 5: DIFFERE NTIATING GIFTS SEEMS MORE THOUGHTFUL ........................ 35 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 36 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 36 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 36 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 36 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 37 7 STUDY 6: GIFTS FOR CLOSE FRIENDS OR CASUAL ACQUAINTANCES ................ 38 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 38 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 38 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 39 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 40 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 40 8 STUDY 7: OVERTHINKING EXACERBATES OVERINDIVIDUATION ....................... 42 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 42 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 42 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 42 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 43 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 44 9 STUDY 8: HIGHLIGHTING RECIPIENT LIKING IMPROVES GIFT SELECTIONS .... 45 Method ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 45 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 45 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 45 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 46 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 46 10 GENERAL DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 48 Limitations and Directions for Future Research ................................ ................................ ..... 50 Theoretical and Practical Implications ................................ ................................ ................... 51 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 53

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6 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 56

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Rated importance of goals in gift giving ................................ ................................ ............ 16

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8 LIST OF FIGURE S Figure page 5 1 Percentage choosing the best liked movie ( Up) ................................ ................................ 33

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9 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SOCIAL COMPARISON IN DECISIONS FOR OTHERS: CONSIDERING MULTIPLE GIFT RECIPIENTS LEADS TO OVER INDIVIDUATED AND LESS LIKED GIFTS By Mary Steffel August 2012 Chair: Robyn LeBoeuf Major: Business Administration This research examines how the social context in which a gift is selected influences gift choices. When people select gifts for multiple recipients, they tend to pass up gifts that would be better liked in favor of gifts that are uniquely suited to each recipient. This over individuation arises becau identities, and not simply because givers perceive recipients differently when they are considered together versus separately. Consistent with this, over individuation is exac erbated when givers are more motivated to put thought into their gift selections (such as when selecting gifts for close friends) and when they devote a greater amount of time and thought to their gift selections. Over individuation occurs despite the fact that givers rate maximizing recipient liking as their most important goal and persists even when givers know that recipients are unlikely to compare gifts. Focusing attention on recipient liking reduces over individuation and can help givers to select bet ter liked gifts.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION People are often put in the difficult position of having to make decisions on behalf of others. Whether making plans for a date or grocery shopping for a household, people must not but must also make decisions for them without their input. Perhaps the most ubiquitous case in which this occurs is gift giving. Indeed, gift giving can be a challenge: it can be hard to find an affordable item that a recipient is sure to love. Sometimes, this challenge is further compounded by having to choose gifts for multiple recipients at once, as when doing holiday shopping for a long list of recipients. Having multiple recipients in mind not only means that more gifts are needed, but it may also cha nge how people select those gifts. This research examines how considering multiple recipients affects the type and quality of gifts that people choose. We suggest that people who are selecting gifts for multiple recipients may not necessarily select gifts that are most appropriate for each person in an absolute sense (i.e., what gift might be most liked by each recipient), but rather may select gifts that seem appropriate for each person relative to the others (i.e., what gift might be uniquely suited for o ne recipient relative to other recipients). For example, consider someone giving magazine subscriptions to two friends. Both friends are avid sports fans, but one has a secondary interest in technology and the other occasionally travels. The giver might se lect a technology magazine for the first friend and a travel magazine for the second friend, even though both would actually have preferred a sports magazine, and even though the giver might have given a sports magazine to either friend if he was giving a gift to just one of them. Thus, gift givers may consider recipients in relation to each other, selecting gifts by deciding which recipient is the most avid reader, which is the biggest sports fan, or which has the best sense of humor. This can lead to over individuation when giving

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11 gifts to multiple recipients, as givers may pass up gifts that would be better liked in favor of gifts that are uniquely suited to particular recipients, even when there are no concerns about the recipients comparing gifts. Befo re turning to the empirical work, we first briefly review the literature on how people make choices on behalf of others. We then consider two reasons why, when choosing gifts for multiple others, over individuation may arise. Making Choices f or Others Previous work on judgment and decision making has traditionally focused on personal decisions, and as such, initially neglected how people make choices on behalf of other people and how such decisions might be influenced by the context in which they are ma de. More recently, however, research has begun to examine how people make choices on behalf of others and how those choices compare to choices made for the self (e.g., Beisswanger et al. 2003; Jonas, Schulz Hardt, and Frey 2005; Kray 2000; Polman 2010; Pol man and Emich 2011; Pronin, Olivola, and Kennedy 2008; Stone, Yates, and Caruthers 2002; Zikmund Fisher et al. 2006). One relevant theme that emerges from this recent work is that differences in perspective they are deciding can lead decision makers to make choices that differ from what those others would have chosen for themselves and that are, at times, suboptimal. In the domain of gift giving, givers are much more aware of the inputs into their gifts than are recipients, and this perspective difference can lead givers to invest time and resources into gifts that fail to have the intended effect on recipients. For example, although givers believe that investing more thought or money into a gift will increas e recipient appreciation, recipients are generally unaffected by the thought or money invested (Epley and Zhang 2011; Flynn and Adams 2009). Although recipients appreciate solicited gifts more than unsolicited gifts (Gino and Flynn 2010), givers assume tha t both solicited and unsolicited gifts

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12 will be equally appreciated. Thus, when choosing a gift, givers may show an egocentric bias (Epley et al. 2004), focusing too much on information that is available to them but not to recipients and failing to sufficie In the present research we examine how givers may also focus on the other recipients for whom they are simultaneously shopping, information that is available to givers but not to recipients. Over Individuation In Gi ft Giving We specifically suggest that considering multiple recipients may lead gift givers to select gifts that differentiate recipients from each other, rather than gifts that will be liked best. There are at least two reasons why this may occur. The fi rst is that givers may perceive recipients differently when they are presented together versus separately: considering multiple recipients they will like. A very d when recipients are considered simultaneously, a multiple recipient context may highlight the nge recipient case may prompt givers to use existing differences between recipients to select individuated gifts that acknowledge what makes each recipient special and that ther efore seem more thoughtful. We suggest that this latter mechanism, the desire to appear thoughtful and to convey an Perceptual Reasons for Differentiating Recipients One reas on why givers may give different gifts when considering recipients jointly, instead of in isolation, is that the multiple recipient context may actually change how recipients are perceived. For example, a moderately athletic friend may seem less athletic t han before when considered with a marathon runner, but more athletic than before when considered with a couch

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13 potato. Consistent with this possibility, past research shows that considering alternatives together versus separately can highlight attributes th at are easily comparable and lead to preference reversals (e.g., Bazerman, Loewenstein, and White 1992; Bazerman et al. 1994; Hsee 1996, 1998; Hsee and Zhang 2004; for a review, see Hsee et al. 1999). Indeed, people sometimes choose options that they end u p enjoying less because they fail to recognize that their preferences when considering the alternatives together (e.g., in a store) may differ from their preferences when experiencing the chosen options independently (e.g., in their living room, Hsee and Z hang 2004). For example, participants who compared a 15 g chocolate to a 5 g chocolate overestimated the additional enjoyment they would get out of the 15 g chocolate, relative to participants who experienced only one of these rewards in isolation. Consequ ently, a majority of participants chose to participate in a negative task with the larger chocolate over a positive task with the smaller chocolate, apparently assuming that the pleasure from the extra chocolate would outweigh the displeasure from the task However, participants who only experienced the negative task with the larger chocolate rated the total experience as worse than did those who only experienced the positive task with the smaller chocolate. Thus, comparisons made salient in the joint evalu Likewise, juxtaposing recipients may highlight differentiating features of each recipient, making certain gifts momentarily seem more appropriate than they seem in isolation: sports is the couch potato who makes her seem athletic, and may seem less appropriate if the other recipient is the marathon runner who makes her seem sloth ful. In sum, the context in which givers select gifts (joint evaluation) differs from the context in which recipients experience gifts

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14 Differentiating Recipien ts Seems More Thoughtful Alternatively, over recipient setting, their views of which gifts are most thoughtful may change. When givers must give a g ift to one person, the gift that the recipient will like the best may seem like the most thoughtful one. However, when givers must select gifts for multiple people, other considerations may become salient that change which gifts seem most thoughtful. In pa rticular, it may seem more thoughtful to give individuated gifts that convey an gifts may be liked better overall. This seems especially likely to be an is sue in situations where one gift may be best liked by multiple people givers may (rightly or wrongly) feel that getting selections in an attempt to seem more thoughtful. Givers may lose sight of the fact that recipients would rather receive the item that they like best over another item that individuates them from a t he fact that individuation may not be necessary if recipients will not compare gifts or will not be aware that other recipients exist. In support of this view, researchers have suggested that givers want to select gifts that acknowledge what makes a recip ient special, in large part because doing so signals that they know and understand the tastes, preferences, and identity of the recipient (Belk 1966; Schwartz 1967). Gifts that successfully convey this understanding can strengthen the relationship between the giver and recipient (Mauss 1924), and gifts that do this unsuccessfully can offend the recipient, embarrass the giver, and undermine the relationship (Sherry 1983; Sherry, McGrath, and Levy 1993; Wooten 2000). Indeed, evidence suggests that givers may, at times, gravitate toward distinctive gifts: for example, givers buying a gift for a friend who is both an avid sky

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15 diver and an avid tennis player are more likely to give a book on skydiving than on tennis because the former is more distinctive (Nelson and Miller 1995). Additionally, givers are willing to pay more for a customized product designed for someone else than for themselves, suggesting that they place special value on personalization in gift giving (Bonney, Herd, and Moreau 2010). We suggest th at considering multiple gift recipients simultaneously may highlight these individuation motives and may lead givers to focus on trying to seem thoughtful by differentiating recipients. Thus, givers who are shopping for multiple recipients may gravitate to ward gifts that are uniquely suited for each recipient not because they perceive the recipients differently when they are presented together versus separately, but rather because they think it is more thoughtful to give different, individuated gifts to eac h person. Even if givers are aware that two recipients are likely to prefer the same particular gift over its alternatives, they may avoid selecting that same gift for both recipients because it seems impersonal or less thoughtful to do so, and may instead select different gifts that enable them to acknowledge what makes each recipient special. In contrast, in the single recipient case, the most liked gift may seem like the most thoughtful gift, largely because the prospect of giving the same gift to multip le people is not made explicit. This account suggests that givers will be especially likely to differentiate gifts when selecting gifts for close friends versu s casual acquaintances. Although the process of giving to multiple recipients may highlight the motive to convey thin k that doing so is more important, overall, than giving a gift that will be liked the best by the recipie nt. Thus, we conducted a pilot S tudy ( N = 84) via Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online forum where participants complete surveys in exchange for credit to ward Amazon.com products.

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16 We asked participants to rate how important various considerations were when choosing gifts, on a scale from 1 = not at all important to 7 = extremely important We manipulated between subjects whether participants were asked to i magine choosing gifts for one or multiple recipien ts. As T choosing a gift that the recipient will p < .01). T he rated importance of thes e considerations did not vary based on whether givers imagined choosing gifts for a single recipient or multiple recipients (all p > .05). Table 1 1. Rated importance of goals in gift giving Goal M ( SD ) Choosing a gift that the recipient will like the most 6.38 (.79) Choosing a gift that seems thoughtful 6.11 (.88) Choosing a gift that conveys how well I understand the recipient 5.99 (1.02) Choosing a gift that is uniquely personalized to the recipient 5.56 (1.38) Choosing a gif t that the recipient would have chosen for themselves 5.50 (1.21) Choosing a gift that the recipient will use often 5.43 (1.20) Choosing a gift that costs the right amount 5.07 (1.52) Choosing a gift that is different from what I have given to ot her people 4.61 (1.50) Choosing a gift that I myself would like 3.48 (1.75) Thus, even in a multiple recipient context, people consider giving the most liked gift to be the most important criterion certainly a more important criterion than giving a differentiated gift. However, when faced with the actual prospect of selecting gifts for multiple recipients, people may lose sight of this priority, especially if selecting the most liked gift would lead to selecting the same gift for more than one person Givers in such a setting may feel a tension between giving the best liked gift and what seems like the most thoughtful gift, and this may lead some of them to select gifts that differentiate recipients. Of course, there may be situations in which it trul y is important to give gifts that are uniquely personalized to recipients. In particular, when recipients are likely to compare gifts, it may be important for a giver to distinguish recipients who vary in relationship type and

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17 closeness, to communicate to recipients how much they are valued, and to signal relational intimacy (Lowrey, Otnes, and Ruth 2004). In such contexts, giving identical gifts to multiple recipients may be perceived as impersonal and may undermine the degree to which the gift conveys the However, the current research focuses on situations in which it is clear to givers that the recipients are unlikely to compare gifts. In such cases, gifts that are superior in an absolute sense are likely to be better appreciated than gifts that are better on a relative dimension. This is true particularly because the gift that seems relatively better is inherently dependent on which other recipients happen to be simultaneously considered: whether a recipient seems like the smartest recipient, the funniest recipient, or the most athletic recipient will depend on the others to whom he or she is being compared. The gift that a person receives may thus be highly dependent on mind, and givers who focus on selecting a gift that is uniquely appropriate for a particular recipient relative to others may end up underweighting other important aspects of a gift, such as how much the gift will be liked by the recipient. Research Overv iew Seven experiments explore how the social context in which a gift is selected affects gift selections. We hypothesize that, when people select gifts for multiple recipients, they may pass up gifts that would be better liked for gifts that differentiate recipients. We suggest that this over individuation tendency is not the result of the recipients appearing to have different tastes when they are considered jointly, but rather, is a consequence of givers wanting to appear thoughtful and to convey an under recipient context. Studies 1 through 3 will explore whether over individuation emerges with multiple recipients. We predict that givers who pass up the best gift will recognize that their chosen gif t is less likely to be liked by the recipient than is the best gift, a finding which would be inconsistent

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18 with a perceptual account and more consistent with participants wanting to seem thoughtful by ferences. Studies 4 and 5 will further tease apart competing explanations for over individuation. Study 4 will suggest that over (vs. separately), and S tudy 5 will suggest that over individuation does arise because participants want to appear thoughtful and to erences. Consistent with this, S tudies 6 and 7 will suggest that, the more w illing and able givers are to try to be especially thoughtful, the more likely they are pass up better liked gi fts for unique gifts. Finally, S tudy 8 will explore how givers may be nudged to select gifts that are more likely to maximize recipient liking.

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19 CHAPTER 2 STUDY 1: SELECTING UNIQUE BUT LESS APPEALING BIRTHDAY CARDS Study 1 tested the hypothesis that givers who are purchasing items for multiple recipients, instead of one, may pass up items that would be better liked in the service of selecting indi viduated item s. In S tudy 1 givers selected a birthday card for one recipient (Rob or Pete) or two unacquainted recipients (Rob and Pete). In a profile picture, Rob was shown laughing, suggesting that he had a better sense of humor than Pete, who was si mply shown smiling. Four cards were available; pretesting showed that one card was considered much funnier and was better liked than the other cards. We predicted that givers in the one recipient conditions would choose the funny card regardless of who the recipient was, but givers in the two person condition would tend to get different cards for each friend and would get the funny card for Rob (who was shown laughing) but not for Pete (who was not shown laughing). Method Participants Undergraduates ( N = 67) at a large southeastern university participated in exchange for extra course credit. Procedure Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: participants were asked to imagine that they had a friend named Rob, a friend named Pete, or two friends (Rob and Pete) whose birthdays were coming up, and that they had decided to mail their friend(s) a birthday card. In the two recipient condition, the order in which Rob and Pete were presented was les were provided to convey that each had a sense of humor and to provide more information about the friends. Rob listed Old School, 40 Year Old Virgin, and Dodgeball among his favorite movies, and Pete listed The Hangover,

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20 Happy Gilmore, and Zoolander. Ro b was pictured laughing, to suggest that he had an especially good sense of humor. A pre test on 45 undergraduates at the same university as the main participant pool confirmed that the majority (76%) perceived Rob as having a better sense of humor than Pe te when asked to choose between the two ( 2 (1, N = 45) = 6.74, p = .009). There were four available birthday cards, including one that was pre tested to be funnier peeing in your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel it In a pretest, 40 undergraduates at the same university were asked to rate how funny the cards were on a scale from 1 = not at all funny to 7 = very funny. Pretest participants rated the funny card as funnier ( M = 5.15, SD = 1.61) than the sarcastic card ( M = 3.62, SD = 1.84; t (39) = 3.69, p = .001), the bubble card ( M = 1.35, SD = .77; t (39) = 15.45, p < .001), and the fish card ( M = 1.68, SD = 1.02; t (39) = 13.21, p < .001). Eighty three percent of participants rated the funny card as funnier than any of the other cards. In another pretest, 42 undergraduates at the same university were asked to imagine re ceiving several birthday cards and to rate how much they liked each on a scale from 0 = not at all to 5 = very much Pretest participants liked the funny card substantially more ( M = 3.70, SD = 1.49) than the sarcastic card ( M = 1.68, SD = 1.64; t (41) = 5. 63, p < .001), the bubble card ( M = 2.02, SD = 1.17; t (41) = 6.38, p < .001), and the fish card ( M = 1.87, SD = 1.44; t (41) = 6.34, p <

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21 .001). Eighty four percent of participants rated the funny card higher than the others. Thus, the funny card seems to ha ve been preferred overwhelmingly over the others. In the main experiment, participants were asked to select a birthday card for their friend(s). In the two recipient condition, the instructions explicitly stated that participants could select different car ds for each friend or the same card for both friends. To suggest that recipients were unlikely to compare cards, the instructions also stated that the friends lived in different cities from the participant and from each other. Finally, after selecting a ca rd, participants were asked (on the same page) to predict how much their friend(s) would like that card on a scale ranging from 1 = not at all to 6 = very much. Results Rob (who was shown laughing) was just as likely to receive the funny card in the two pe rson condition (67%) as in the one person condition (70%; 2 (1, N = 47) = .38, p = .54). Pete (who was not shown laughing) was much less likely to receive the funny card in the two person condition (26%) than in the one person condition (70%; 2 (1, N = 47) = 9.03, p = .003). Thus, the vast majority of participants gave Pete the funny card when they chose for him alone, but only a minority gave him this card when they chose for both him and Rob. Despite this, participants recognized that both recipients would enjoy other cards less than the funny card. Participants who selected another card for Rob predicted that he would like the card less ( M = 4.64, SD = 1.01) than did participants who selected the funny card ( M = 5.30, SD = .98; F (1, 43) = 3.95, p = 05, 2 = .08). This effect was not qualified by an interaction with condition ( F (1, 43) = .03, p = .86, 2 = .001). Likewise, participants who selected another card for Pete predicted that he would like the card less ( M = 4.35, SD = 1.06) than did particip ants

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22 who selected the funny card ( M = 5.10, SD = 1.09; F (1, 43) = 7.12, p = .01, 2 = .14). Again, this effect was not qualified by an interaction with condition ( F (1, 43) = .71, p = .40, 2 = .02). Discussion Most givers in the one person condition gave the card that was better liked and was considered funnier regardless of who the recipient was. However, in the two person condition, most givers gave the funny card to the recipient who was laughing, and only a minority gave this card to the other recipie nt, suggesting that givers compared the recipients and may have wanted to give cards that acknowledged unique facets of each recipient. Givers did this despite recognizing that both recipients were more likely to enjoy the funny card than any of the other cards. This suggests that the effect did not arise because participants in the multiple recipient condition changed their views of what recipients liked, but rather that they nevertheless compared recipients in order to select cards that were uniquely appr opriate for each individual.

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23 CHAPTER 3 STUDY 2: GIVING UNIQUE BUT LESS LIKED MOVIES Study 2 examined whether the over indivi duation phenomeno n observed in S tudy 1 emerges in a different context and whether it can even lead to gift selections that are less likely to please both recipients. In S tudy 2 givers selected a DVD for one recipient or two unacquainted recipients. Both recipients preferred animated movies most, but they had different second most preferred genres. The available DVDs included movie s from many genres, but included only one animated title (which could be given to either recipient or to both). We predicted that givers in the two person condition would try to individuate the recipients with their gifts, and consequently, each recipient would be less likely to receive the animated DVD in the two recipient condition than in the one recipient condition. Method Participants Undergraduates ( N = 133) at a large southeastern university participated in exchange for extra course credit. Procedure Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: participants were asked to imagine that they had a friend named Sarah, a friend named Steph, or two friends (Sarah or Steph) whose birthdays were coming up and that they had decided to mail t heir friend(s) a DVD listed four animated movies among their favorites. Additionally, Sarah listed two thriller movies among her favorites, and Steph listed two science fiction movies. To suggest that recipients were universities and lived in different cities.

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24 The available DVDs included 25 movies categorized into eig ht genres. The set included one family/animated movie ( Up ), four thrillers, four sci fi/fantasy movies, three action/adventure movies, five comedies, four dramas, one music/musical movie, and three romances. Participants were asked to select a DVD for thei r friend(s) and to then predict how much their friend(s) would like that DVD on a scale ranging from 1 = very little to 7 = very much. Results Each recipient was less likely to receive Up (the animated movie) in the two person condition than in the one per son condition. Whereas 82% of participants in the one person condition selected Up for Sarah, only 63% of those in the two person condition did so ( 2 (1, N = 96) = 4.00, p < .05). Similarly, 84% of participants in the one person condition selected Up for Steph, but only 54% of those in the two person condition did so ( 2 (1, N = 94) = 8.64, p = .003). Participants who did not select the animated movie tended to favor movies from who preferred science fiction movies, 66% of those getting something other than Up chose science fiction and none chose thrillers, whereas for Sarah, who preferred thrillers, 25% chose thrillers and 11% chose science fiction. Participants recognized that both recipients would enjoy other movies less than Up Participants who selected another movie for Sarah predicted that she would like the movie less ( M = 5.46, SD = .79) than did participants who selected Up ( M = 6.40, SD = .65; F (1, 92) = 27.40, p < .00 1, 2 = .23). This effect was not qualified by an interaction with condition ( F (1, 92) = .10, p = .75, 2 = .001). Likewise, participants who selected another movie for Steph predicted that she would like the movie less ( M = 5.50, SD = .88) than did partic ipants who selected Up ( M = 6.48, SD = .70; F (1, 90) = 21.62, p < .001, 2 = .19). Again, this effect was not qualified by an interaction with condition ( F (1, 90) = .02, p = .89, 2 < .001).

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25 Discussion Givers were less likely to give a recipient a movie f rom a preferred genre when there were multiple recipients than when there was only one recipient. Givers did this despite recognizing that the recipients were more likely to enjoy a movie from their preferred genre than a movie from a different genre. Desp ite the fact that we made efforts to suggest that r ecipients were unacquainted in S tudies 1 and 2, it is possible that givers nonetheless thought that the recipients might know each other and that they mi ght compare gifts. In S tudy 3 we explore whe ther over individuation persists even when givers explicitly acknowledge that recipients are unacquainted.

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26 CHAPTER 4 STUDY 3: GIVING UNIQUE BUT LESS PREFERRED BOOKS Study 3 examined whether over individuation occurs even when givers explicitly recognize t hat recipients d o not know each other. In S tudy 3 givers gave a book to one recipient (Elizabeth or Katherine) or two recipients (Elizabeth and Katherine). Givers were told that the recipients did not know each other nor did they have any friends in co mmon. Both Elizabeth and Katherine were described as liking TV shows and movies featuring vampires, and the gift options included a novel about vampires (which could be given to either recipient or to both). We predicted that, even when givers explicitly r ecognized that the recipients did not know one another, givers in the two person condition would try to individuate the recipients with their gifts. Consequently, each recipient would be less likely to receive the vampire novel in the two recipient conditi on than in the one recipient condition. Method Participants Participants ( N = 211) were recruited to fill out an online survey via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Only participants who had an Amazon Mechanical Turk approval rate of 95% or higher and lived in the United States were permitted to participate. Thirty six percent of participants were male, with three participants not specifying gender. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 68, with a mean age of 35. Seventy nine percent of participants were White, 12% were Asian, 3% were Black, 2% were Hispanic, and 4% did not specify their ethnicity. The surveys took approximately two minutes to complete, and participants were compensated with $0.15 credit toward Amazon.com products.

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27 Procedure Participants were randoml y assigned to one of three conditions: participants were asked to imagine that they had a cousin named Elizabeth, a cousin named Katherine, or two cousins (Elizabeth and Katherine) whose birthdays were coming up and that they had decided to mail their cous in(s) a book as a gift. In the two recipient condition, the order in which Elizabeth and Katherine were presented was counterbalanced. Participants were provided with descriptions of each cousin: Description of Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a freshman at the Uni versity of Colorado. She is a member of the swim team. Her favorite TV shows are True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. She recently started watching the BBC series, Being Human, about three twenty somethings who happen to be a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghos t. Description of Katherine. Katherine is a freshman at the University of Arizona. She is a member of Delta Gamma sorority. Her favorite TV shows are The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural, and she loves watching old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. She was a huge fan of the Harry Potter movies and also enjoys romance movies like Love Actually. Participants in the two person condition were told that one of the cousins was from their hat they attended different universities. To make it explicitly clear that recipients were unlikely to family, they do not know each other nor do they have any fr manipulation check, at the end of the survey, participants were asked whether the recipients knew each other.

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28 Participants were told that they were considering four books that they knew neither of their cousins had read but that th ey thought each of them might enjoy: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (a romance about vampires), The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (a drama), The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (a romance), and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (a thriller). Participants were asked t o select a book for each cousin. The instructions explicitly stated that participants could select different books for each cousin or the same book for both cousins. On the same page, participants were then asked to predict how much their cousins would lik e the books they received on a scale ranging from 1 = very little to 7 = very much. Results Most givers in the one person condition gave the book that best appealed to the Twilight, the romance about vampires. However, in the two person condition, givers tended to individuate their gifts. Consequently, each recipient was less likely to receive Twilight Whereas 92% of participants in the one person condition selected Twilight for Eliz abeth, only 71% of those in the two person condition did so ( 2 (1, N = 144) = 10.45, p = .001). Similarly, 81% of participants in the one person condition selected Twilight for Katherine, but only 66% of those in the two person condition did so ( 2 (1, N = 146) = 3.98, p < .05). Recall that we included a manipulation check to examine whether participants believed that the recipients were truly unacquainted: 83% of participants correctly believed this to be true. The over individuation effects persisted even when we included only those participants who recognized that the recipients were unacquainted (both p < .05). Participants recognized that both recipients would enjoy other books less than Twilight Participants who selected another book for Elizabeth pred icted that she would like the book less ( M = 5.11, SD = .99) than did participants who selected Twilight ( M = 6.37, SD = .74; F (1, 140)

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29 = 38.56, p < .001, 2 = .22). This effect was not qualified by an interaction with condition ( F (1, 140) = .002, p = .97, 2 < .001). Likewise, participants who selected another book for Katherine predicted that she would like the book less ( M = 5.33, SD = 1.07) than did participants who selected Twilight ( M = 6.19, SD = .86; F (1, 142) = 25.30, p < .001, 2 = .15). Again, this effect was not qualified by an interaction with condition ( F (1, 142) = .22, p = .64, 2 = .002). Discussion Even though givers thought that each recipient would like Twilight better than any other book, givers were less likely to giv e each recipient Twilight when there were multiple recipients than when there was only one recipient. Givers did this despite recognizing that the recipients did not know each other and were unlikely to compare gifts. We next examine why this over individu ation tendency emerges.

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30 CHAPTER 5 STUDY 4: ARE RECIPIENTS PERCEIVED DIFFERENTLY WHEN PRESENTED TOGETHER? Study 4 more directly examined a perceptual account for why givers favor unique gifts over better liked gifts when faced with multiple recipients. Tha t is, juxtaposing recipients may their tastes. For example, in S tudy 2, perhaps Steph was less likely to receive an animated movie in the two recipient case because her preference for animated movies seemed les s pronounced, and her preference for science fiction seemed more pronounced, when she was considered with Sarah. In S tudy 4, givers either chose a gift for one friend, chose a gift for two friends, or considered both friends but only choose a gift for one of them. If over individuation emerges because givers perceive recipients differently when they are presented together versus separately, then givers who consider both friends but only choose a gift for one of them should behave like those who choose a gi ft for two friends: they should pass up better liked gifts in favor of individuated gifts because they are seeing two individuals simultaneously. Additionally, we manipulated whether participants gave an item or predicted which item the recipient(s) would choose for themselves. If givers perceive recipients differently when they are presented together versus separately, then predictions about what recipients would themselves choose should mimic gift selections, and should differ when two recipients are cons idered instead of one. Method Participants Participants ( N = 168) were recruited to fill out an online survey via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Only participants who had an Amazon Mechanical Turk approval rate of 95% or higher and lived in the United States were permitted to participate. Thirty five percent of participants were male, with one participant not specifying gender. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 78,

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31 with a mean age of 36. Seventy nine percent of participants were White, 8% were Black, 4% were A sian, 4% were Hispanic, and 5% were of another ethnicity. The surveys took two minutes to complete, and participants were compensated with $0.15 credit toward Amazon.com products. Procedure Participants were asked to imagine that they had a cousin (Steph) or two cousins (Steph and Sarah). Participants were randomly assigned to choose a DVD for Steph ( alone condition), to consider both cousins but only choose a DVD for Steph ( alongside condition), or to choose a DVD for both cousins ( both condition). Additio nally, we manipulated between subjects whether participants gave a DVD or predicted which DVD the recipient(s) would choose for themselves, leading to a 3 (recipient presentation: alone, alongside, or both) x 2 (choice mode: give or predict) between subjec ts design. Participants were told to imagine that they do not see their cousin(s) very often, so they [their] hometown(s) and her [their] favorite movies. Participants in the alone alongside and both conditions saw profiles of St eph and Sarah and were asked to consider both. Participants in the alongside both Next, participants in the give conditions were told that they had decided to get their cousin(s) a DVD as a gift [DVDs as gifts] and were asked which DVD(s) they would get for the recipient(s). Participants in the both condition were explicitly told that they c ould get the same DVD for both recipients or different DVDs for each. Participants in the predict condition were told that they had decided to get their cousin(s) a gift certificate for a DVD [gift certificates for

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32 DVDs] and were asked which DVD(s) they th ought the recipient(s) would choose. Finally, on a separate page, participants were asked to predict how much their cousin(s) would like each of the DVDs on a scale ranging from 1 = very little to 7 = very much. re the same as in S tudy 2 with one notable only animated movies, whereas Steph mainly liked animated movies but also liked science fiction (as before). This simplified the paradigm and the prediction s so that only Steph was predicted to be less likely to receive Up in the both condition (because she was the only recipient with an alternate genre preference). In addition, the number of available DVDs was reduced from 25 to 10. The set included one family/animated movie ( Up ), two sci fi/fantasy movies, two thrillers, three comedi es, one action/adventure movie, and one romance. To suggest that recipients were unlikely to compare the family. Results As shown in F igure 1, when choosing which DVD to give, givers differed in how likely they were to choose Up for Steph based on condition ( 2 (2, N = 168) = 15.20, p < .001). A contrast analysis (Rosenthal and Rosnow 1985) indicated that givers were less likely to give Steph Up when they selected gifts for both Steph and Sarah (42%) than when they considered Steph alone (86%) or considered both Steph and Sarah but then selected a gift for Steph only (82%; z = 3.88, p < .001). However, whe n predicting which DVD the recipients would choose for themselves, givers predicted that Steph would choose Up for herself regardless of condition ( 2 (2, N = 168) = .42, p = .81): 79% of participants predicted that Steph would choose Up when they predicted

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33 Up when they choose Up when they considered both Steph and Sarah but predicted only Ste Figure 5 1 Percentage choosing the best liked movie ( Up) Givers recognized that Steph would enjoy other DVDs less than Up Participants who selected another DVD for Steph predicted that she would like the DVD less ( M = 8.63, SD = 1.80) than did participants who selected Up ( M = 9.57, SD = 1.01; F (1, 155) = 15.97, p < .001, 2 = .09). Predicted liking was not affected by the alone, alongside, or both manipulation ( F (2, 155) = 1.08, p = .34, 2 = .01) by the giving or predicting manipulation ( F (1, 155) = .64, p = .43, 2 = .004), or by any interactions between these factors (all p > .05). Discussion Our findings suggest that over individuation does not mainly arise because recipients appear to have different tastes when they are p resented together instead of alone. Although givers predicted that the target recipient would choose a movie from her preferred genre 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Alone Both Alongside Percentage Who Chose Up Give Predict

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34 regardless of condition, participants were less likely to give her a movie from that genre when they selected gifts for tw o people compared to when they considered her alone or considered two people but chose only for the target. These findings suggest that givers did not, in fact, perceive the recipients differently when they were presented together versus separately.

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35 CHAPT ER 6 STUDY 5: DIFFERENTIATING GIFTS SEEMS MORE THOUGHTFUL Whereas S tudy 4 suggested that over individuation does not arise for perceptual reasons, S tudy 5 investigates why it does arise: why do givers who are selecting gifts for multiple recipients select more individuated (and less liked) gifts than they select for the same recipients in isolation? Study 5 examines whether this effect is driven by a desire to appear thoughtful, and specifically by a change in which gift seems most thoughtful between the si ngle recipient and the multiple recipient context. That is, when there is just one recipient, the gift that the recipient will like the best may seem like the most thoughtful one. However, in the multiple recipient case, it may seem more thoughtful to give individuated gifts that convey an understanding of each better overall. It may also feel impersonal or less thoughtful to give the same gift or even two highl y similar gifts to two people. Givers may not consider that a recipient who is unaware of other recipients will only see the gift in isolation, and will not have the same context for evaluating the gift (and its ostensible thoughtfulness) that givers have. multiple recipient case that does not exist in the single recipient case. (After all, in the latter case, there is no comparison recipient for whom the same gift mi ght be appropriate.) Despite givers saying in the abstract that their highest priority is to maximize recipient liking, this tension may lead some givers to deviate from the most liked gift when there are multiple recipients. Thus, in S tudy 5, participant s chose between the movies Up and Star Trek for a recipient who had a main interest in animation and a secondary interest in science fiction. Participants chose which movie would be more thoughtful, would be better suited to the recipient, and would convey a better understanding of the recipient. Half of each sample considered this choice in

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36 isolation, and the other half considered this choice in the context of having already chosen to give Up to another friend. We predicted that fewer participants would pe rceive Up to be more thoughtful, to be better suited to the recipient, and to convey a better understanding of the recipient when they were also giving Up to another recipient than when they were getting it only for the target recipient. Method Participant s Undergraduates ( N = 61) at a large southeastern university participated in exchange for extra course credit. Procedure Participants were asked to imagine that they had a friend (Steph) or two friends (Steph and Sarah) whose birthdays were coming up and t hat they had decided to mail their friend(s) a DVD. The Facebook profiles, favorite movies, and avai lable DVDs w ere the same as in S tudy 4. To suggest that recipients were unlikely to compare gifts, participants in the two person condition were explicitly told that their friends were unacquainted with each other. Participants randomly assigned to the one person condition considered giving Steph (whose favorite movies included five animated movies and two science fiction movies) either Up or Star Trek Part icipants in the two person condition considered giving either Up to Sarah and Up to Steph or giving Up to Sarah and Star Trek to Steph. Participants were asked to choose which gift(s) seemed more thoughtful, which was (were) better suited to the recipient( s), and which conveyed a better understanding of the recipient(s). Results In the one person condition, all but one participant (97%) thought that Up would be a more thoughtful gift for Steph than Star Trek 94% thought that it was better suited to Steph than

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37 Star Trek and 97% thought that it conveyed a better understanding of Steph than Star Trek However, in the two person condition, a substantial proportion of participants (48%) thought that getting Up for Sarah and Star Trek for Steph would be more th oughtful than getting Up for both recipients, 40% thought that the different gifts were better suited to the recipients, and 48% thought that the different gifts conveyed a better understanding of the recipients. Thus, when participants were concurrently g iving Up to Sarah (compared to when Sarah was not involved), significantly fewer participants thought that getting Up for Steph was more thoughtful ( 2 (1, N = 61) = 17.39, p < .001), was better suited to her ( 2 (1, N = 61) = 10.90, p < .001), or conveyed a better understanding of her ( 2 (1, N = 61) = 17.39, p < .001). Discussion When only one recipient was considered, almost all givers thought that a gift from a recipient, and better at conveying an understanding of the recipient than an item from a different genre. However, when givers were also giving that preferred item to another recipient, that very same gift seemed less thoughtful, less suited to the target recipient, and worse at conveying an understanding of the target recipient than it did before. The process of giving to multiple recipients can put choosing the best liked gift in tension with choosing the most thoughtful gift and can suggest that a more specialized gift might be more appropriate. Thus, some givers may select unique gifts in the multiple recipient case because they perceive those gifts to be more thoughtful and better at conveying an understanding of the recipients.

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38 CHAPTER 7 STUDY 6: GIF TS FOR CLOSE FRIENDS OR CASUAL ACQUAINTANCES Study 5 suggested that the desire to give a thoughtful gift might drive over individuation in the case of multiple recipients. Study 6 extends this idea by manipulating how thoughtful givers are motivated to be, with the prediction that increasing this mot ivation will exacerbate the tendency for givers to favor unique gifts over better liked gifts. Specifically, previous research suggests that givers may be especially motivated to lose friends instead of casual acquaintances (Ward a nd Broniarczyk 2011). Thus, in S tudy 6, to manipulate the extent to which givers were motivated to be thoughtful and to convey such an understanding, we asked participants to imagine selecting gifts for t wo close friends or for two casual acquaintances. We predicted that givers would be more likely to select unique gifts over better liked gifts when they selected gifts for two close friends, for whom they are more motivated to be thoughtful, than for two c asual acquaintances. Method Participants Participants ( N = 157) completed an online survey via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Only participants who had an Amazon Mechanical Turk approval rate of 95% or higher and lived in the United States were permitted to part icipate. Thirty seven percent of participants were male. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 70, with a mean age of 34. Eighty six percent of participants were White, 8% were Asian, 4% were Black, 1% were of another ethnicity, and 1% did not specify thei r ethnicity. The surveys took about two minutes to complete, and participants were compensated with $0.15 credit toward Amazon.com products.

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39 Procedure Participants were asked to imagine participating in two separate gift exchanges with two separate sets of friends: friends from work and friends from their neighborhood (none of whom worked with them). They would be giving one gift to a friend from each set of friends. To ndividual, participants were told that they would be selecting gifts for either two of their closest friends or two casual acquaintances, namely: Close friends condition. You happen to draw the names of two of your closest friends Sarah and Steph who you k now very well and who mean a lot to you. You want to pick thought into your gift choices. Since you are very close with each of these people, you want to do your gif t shopping as thoughtfully and carefully as possible. Casual acquaintance condition. You happen to draw the names of two casual acquaintances Sarah and Steph who you do not know very well and who do not mean a whole lot to you. You want to pick gifts that should put a whole lot of time or thought into your gift choices. Since you are not particularly close with either person, you want to do your gift shopping as quickly and easily as possible. Participants were t old that the spending limit for each of the gift exchanges was $20, so were the same as in S tudy 4, except that this information was conveyed via a description rather than via Facebook profiles. Participants were explicitly told that they could get the same DVD for both recipients or different DVDs for each recipient.

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40 Result s We predicted that givers would be more likely to individuate Steph and Sarah with their gift choices when Steph and Sarah were close friends of the giver (and givers were more motivated to put thought into the gifts) than when they were casual acquaintan ces of the giver. Recall that Sarah listed only animated movies among her favorites, whereas Steph listed mainly animated movies but also listed science fiction movies. Because of this, we predicted that Sarah would receive the animated movie ( Up) in most cases, and that, when givers individuated the recipients, they would do so by giving something other than Up to Steph. Indeed, Steph was significantly less likely to receive Up in the close friends condition, where over individuation was predicted to be m ore likely, than in the casual acquaintances condition (31% vs. 47%, respectively; 2 (1, N = 157) = 3.97, p < .05). Sarah was just as likely to receive Up in the close friends condition (89%) as in the casual acquaintances condition (88%; 2 (1, N = 157) = .007, p = .93). Steph was thus more likely to get a specialized gift over a better liked gift when she was a close friend instead of a casual acquaintance. Discussion Study 5 suggested that the desire to give a thoughtful gift drives over individuation. Study 6 extended this finding by showing that over individuation is more likely to arise when givers are more motivated to put thought into their gift choices. Givers were more likely to pass up gifts that would be better liked in favor of gifts that were uniquely suited to particular recipients when they imagined selecting gifts for two close friends (for whom they should put a considerable amount of time and thought into their gift choices) compared to when they imagined selecting gifts for two casual acq uaintances. Thus, the more motivated givers were to select gifts that acknowledge what makes each individual special, the less likely they were to

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41 select gifts that purely maximized recipient liking. These findings suggest that people may, paradoxically, g et worse gifts for their closer friends, as their focus on giving individuated gifts may make them lose focus on getting the best liked gifts.

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42 CHAPTER 8 STUDY 7: OVERTHINKING EXACERBATES OVERINDIVIDUATION motivation to select gifts that are especially thoughtful increases over ability to put more time and thought into gift decisions may also exacerbate the tendency to over individuate gifts. In S tudy 7, givers were instructed to deli berate for either a short or long duration before making gift selections for two recipients. We predicted that participants would differentiate gifts more when they deliberated for a long duration than when they deliberated for a short duration, or, in oth er words, that over thinking gift decisions might lead givers to select less well liked gifts. Method Participants Participants ( N = 71) completed an online survey via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Only participants who had an Amazon Mechanical Turk approval rat e of 95% or higher and lived in the United States were permitted to participate. Thirty eight percent of participants were male. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 82, with a mean age of 37. Eighty two percent of participants were White, 4% were Black, 9% were Asian, 1% were Hispanic, and 4% did not indicate their ethnicity. The surveys took about two minutes to complete, and participants were compensated with $0.15 credit toward Amazon.com products. Procedure Participants were asked to imagine that they ble movies were the same as in S tudy 4. choose a DVD to give to each co usin. To manipulate how much thought participants put into their gift decisions, participants were given 110 or 40 seconds in which to make their gift

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43 decisions (i.e., one standard deviation above or below the average amount of time participants spent maki ng their gift decisions in a pretest conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk) and were given the following instructions: More thought condition. You want to get each of your cousins something they will like, so you feel like you need to put a considerable amount of time and thought into your gift choices. It is important to you to do your gift shopping as thoughtfully and carefully as possible. Af ter all, it is impossible to overthink decisions such as these! To make sure that you put a considerable of time and thought into your gift choices, you will be required to spend AT LEAST 110 seconds considering the gift options. Less thought condition. Yo u want to get each of your cousins something they will like, but you do not feel like you need to put a whole lot of time or thought into your gift choices. It is important to you to do your gift shopping as quickly and easily as possible. After all, it i s easy to overthink decisions such as these! To make sure that you do not overthink your gift choices, you will be required to spend NO MORE THAN 40 seconds considering the gift options. Results We predicted that participants would differentiate gifts more when they put more thought into their gift decisions than when they put less thought into their choices. As predicted, the target recipient, Steph, was significantly less likely to receive Up in the more thought condition than in the less thought conditio n (54% vs. 76%, respectively; 2 (1, N = 71) = 5.19, p < .05). The other recipient was just as likely to receive Up in the more thought condition (86%) as in the less thought condition (95%; 2 (1, N = 71) = .002, p = .96). Thus, over thinking gift decisions led givers to select less well liked gifts.

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44 Discussion Study 7 selections by giving them more time to select gifts increases over individuation. Givers who had more time to sele ct gifts were more likely to pass up gifts that would be better liked in favor of gifts that were uniquely suited to particular recipients than givers who had less t ime to select gifts. Together, S tudies 6 and 7 suggest that, the more willing and able give rs are to try to be especially thoughtful, the more likely they are pass up better liked gifts for unique gifts.

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45 CHAPTER 9 STUDY 8: HIGHLIGHTING RECIPIENT LIKING IMPROVES GIFT SELECTIONS Study 8 explores how givers may be encouraged to select gifts that a re more likely to ecting gifts, the results from S tudies 1 through 7 suggest that giv ers may often fail to prioritize this goal when they attention on recipient liking may make this goal more salient to givers and encourage them to select gifts that recipient s are more likely to enjoy. In S tudy 8, givers selected gifts for two friends, but half first predicted which items their friends would choose for themselves. We s likely to over individuate and more likely to select gifts that they believed would be better liked by recipients. Method Participants Participants ( N = 73) completed an online survey via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Only participants who had an Amazon Mechan ical Turk approval rate of 95% or higher and lived in the United States were permitted to participate. Twenty nine percent of participants were male. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 67, with a mean age of 35. Eighty one percent of participants were W hite, 8% were Black, 7% were Asian, and 4% were Hispanic. The surveys took about two minutes to complete, and participants were compensated with $0.15 credit toward Amazon.com products. Procedure Participants were asked to imagine that they had two cousins ble movies were the same as in S tudy 4.

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46 Participants were told that the holidays were coming up soon and were asked to choose a DVD to give to each cousin. Half of participants w ere first asked to predict which DVDs their cousins would pick for themselves. Results We predicted that participants would be more likely to select better liked gifts (and thus, less likely to over individuate) when they were first asked to consider what the recipients would select for themselves. Recall that Sarah listed only animated movies among her favorites, whereas Steph listed mainly animated movies but also listed a few science fiction movies. Because of this, we predicted that Sarah would receive the animated movie ( Up) in most cases and that givers would personalize their gift selections by giving something other than Up to Steph unless they first stopped to consider what Steph would really like the most. When participants predicted what the reci pients would choose for themselves, they recognized that each would have a strong preference for Up: 79% predicted that Steph would choose Up and 95% predicted that Sarah would choose Up More important, considering what recipients would choose for them selves reduced the incidence of over individuation: Steph was significantly more likely to receive Up in the predict first condition (76%) than in the control condition (54%; 2 (1, N = 73) = 3.93, p < .05). Sarah was just as likely to receive Up in the pre dict first condition (95%) as in the control condition (86%; 2 (1, N = 73) = 1.71, p = .19). Thus, over individuation was less likely to occur when Discussion Study 8 shows that focusing givers predict what gifts recipients would choose for themselves, can help givers to select gifts that are

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47 more likely to satisfy their goal of giving the best liked gifts. We found that givers who were select ing gifts for multiple recipients were less likely to give individuated gifts, and more likely would choose for themselves before making gift selections.

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48 CHAPTER 10 GENERAL DISCUSSION This research shows that the social context in which a gift is selected affects gift choices. When gift givers select gifts for multiple recipients, they pass up gifts that would be better liked for gifts that fit unique will compare gifts and even when they themselves know that these gifts will be less well liked. Our findings suggest that over individuation does not arise simply because givers p erceive the recipients differently when they are presented together versus separately. In Studies 1 through 4, givers who passed up superior gifts in favor of gifts that fit unique aspects of ely to enjoy the gifts they received. In Study 4, givers who considered two people but chose a gift only for a target recipient were for both people. Additio nally, givers predicted that the target recipient would choose an item from the preferred category regardless of whether they considered recipients together versus separately. Thus, although it is certainly possible that some cases of over individuation ar ise because recipients seem different when considered jointly instead of separately, our findings point towards another cause for over individuation. Indeed, our findings suggest that over individuation arises because givers want to seem thoughtful and to seems most thoughtful differs between the multiple recipient case and the single recipient case. Study 5 showed that a gift that seemed especially thoughtful in isolation appeare d much less so when another person would also receive that gift, suggesting that many givers think that it is more thoughtful to give individuated (vs. non individuated) gifts. Consistent with this, increasing by asking them to imagine selecting gifts for two

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49 close friends (versus two casual acquaintances) exacerbated over individuation. Likewise, amount of time in which to make their gift selections increased over individuation as well. Although gift givers in our pilot survey reported that getting a gift that would be best liked by the recipient was more important to them than getting a gift that was uniquely s uited for the recipient, givers in our experiments typically made choices that reflected considerations other the available gift options. In S attention on recipient liking can improve gi ft selections for multiple recipients. On the surface, the tendency for people who are shopping for multiple recipients to pass up better liked gifts for unique gifts may seem akin to variety seeking, the tendency for people who are selecting multiple item s for themselves to pass up better liked items for a more diverse set of items (for a review, see Kahn 1995). For example, people selecting a series of songs prefer to listen to a variety of songs rather than their favorite song repeatedly, even though the y would get more pleasure out of the repeated experience (Kahn, Ratner, and Kahneman 1997). That said, the present phenomenon is distinct from variety seeking in several ways. Variety seeking typically refers to situations in which a single individual cons umes multiple items (for an exception, see Ariely and Levav 2000), and the present situation is one in which multiple individuals each consume a single item. Variety seeking typically arises because of satiation with product attributes or uncertainty about these mechanisms apply when a person is consuming multiple items but not when multiple people are consuming a single item. In the case of variety seeking across group members for example, when peo ple order unique but less liked entrees when dining at a restaurant with a group variety seeking occurs because people want to convey that they themselves are unique

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50 (Ariely and Levav 2000), whereas in this research, givers selected different items for mul tiple recipients not to individuate themselves, but rather, to differentiate recipients. Limitations and Directions for Future Research Although givers in our experiments were only provided with the option of horizontally differentiating gifts (i.e., by c hoosing different items of equal value: e.g., Up or Star Trek ), in many situations, givers also have the option of vertically differentiating gifts (i.e., by choosing Up ). Vertical diff erentiation provides a means by which givers can distinguish between recipients without resorting to less liked items, but it is likely to be utilized only under certain circumstances. We suggest that whether givers differentiate gifts horizontally or vert ically depends on the relative closeness of the recipients: givers will tend to differentiate horizontally when recipients are equally close to the giver, and they will tend to differentiate vertically when one recipient is considerably closer to the giver than the other. Our account suggests that givers are most likely to diversify gifts for multiple recipients when they are highly motivated to appear thoughtful and to convey an understanding of is motivation should therefore moderate this effect. For example, givers may be less motivated to diversify gifts that are given with the opportunity to signal thei unlikely to affect the strength of the relationship between the giver and recipient. Similarly, there may also be times when givers have a goal to treat each recipient absolutely equally, for exampl e so as not to show favoritism to one grandchild over another. In such cases, givers may prefer to give identical gifts to each recipient so that it is clear that each is equally valued.

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51 The motivation to select gifts that are uniquely suited to recipient s is likely to be rooted in social norms and may therefore be moderated by the cultural values and traditions surrounding gift giving. For example, givers may be more motivated to individuate gifts in Western cultures than Eastern cultures since Western va lues emphasize individualism and Eastern values emphasize conformity (for a review, see Bond 1996). Within a given culture, givers may be more motivated to individuate gifts associated with occasions celebrating specific individuals (e.g., birthdays) than those associated with more general holidays (e.g., Christmas). Furthermore, to the extent that the desire to differentiate recipients is rooted in the norms of gift giving, it remains to be seen whether overindividuation extends beyond the realm of gift gi ving, for example, to advice giving. Theoretical and Practical Implications Gift giving constitutes upwards of $66 billion in spending annually in the United States alone (Waldfogel 2009). And yet, Waldfogel (2009) estimates that recipients generally value gifts 10% to 33% less than the prices paid by givers, and approximately $12 billion is wasted on unwanted gifts each year in the United States and $25 billion worldwide. Thus, gift giving is an important aspect of consumer behavior to understand, and it s eems like there is room for improvement when it comes to helping consumers to give better gifts. Despite this, most of the existing work on gift giving is descriptive in nature, and there is currently little published experimental work on the factors that influence gift selection. This research contributes to the study of consumer behavior by being among the few to experimentally examine the mechanisms underlying gift giving and the implications for gift quality. More generally, this research contributes t o the study of judgment and decision making by broadening the scope from individual decision making to choices made on behalf of others

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52 and from focusing primarily on cognitive mechanisms to also considering the crucial role that desires, motives, and norm s play in social decision making. This research has practical significance for gift givers and retailers alike by identifying when givers are most likely to make suboptimal gift decisions and by suggesting interventions for improving gift selections. Gift givers are most likely to select s uboptimal gifts when they are purchasing gifts for multiple recipients and when they are highly motivated to convey an gifts that are less likely to be returne d may consider encouraging givers to consider one recipient at a time or providing givers with alternative means of satisfying their motivation to individuate gifts, such as customization. Additionally, as demonstrated in this research, encouraging gift gi vers to focus on how much recipients will like potential gifts can lead to gift selections that are more likely to maximize the happiness and appreciation of the intended recipients.

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53 LIST OF REFERENCES oice In Group Settings: Taking The Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (December), 279 290. Preference In Allocation Decisions: Judging An Alternative Versus Choosing Among Administrative Science Quarterly, 37 (June), 220 40. Bazerman, Max H., Holly A. Schroth, Pri P. Shah, Kristina A. Diekmann, and Ann E. dural Justice In Reactions To Hypothetical Job Descriptions: Implications For Job Acceptance Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 60 (May), 326 52. sk Taking In Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 25 (June), 121 35. in Gift Giving: A Research Anthology, ed. Cele Otnes and Richard F. B eltramini, Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 59 84. Analysis Of Studies Psychological Bulletin, 119 (January), 111 37. Bo Recipient Influences The Customization Experience And Valuations Of Customized Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 38, ed. Darren W. Dahl, Gita V. Johar and Stijn M. J. van Osselaer, Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research. Journal of Personality and Social Psycholo gy, 87 (December), 327 39. presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference, San Antonio, TX. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45 (February), 404 09. s Of Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 38, ed. Darren W. Dahl, Gita V. Johar, and Stijn M. J. van Osselaer, Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research.

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54 Value Opt ions Are Judged More Highly Than High Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 11 (June), 107 21. Hsee, Chris K., George F. Loewenstein, Sally B. Blount, and Max H. Bazerman (1999), Of Options: A Review Psychological Bulletin, 125 (September), 576 91. Journal of Experimental Social Psycholog y, 86 (May), 680 95. Jonas, Eva, Stefan Schulz Personality and Soci al Psychology Bulletin, 31 (July), 977 90. Seeking Among Goods and Services: An Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2 (July), 139 48. Kahn, Barbara E., Rebecca Ratner, and Daniel Kahne Marketing Letters, 8 (Spring), 85 96. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 83 (September), 82 106. Lowrey Journal of Consumer Research, 30 (March), 547 58. Mauss, Marcel (1924), The Gift, New York, NY: Norton. Nelson, Lor Psychological Science, 6 (July), 246 49. Other Decision Makin g Journal of Experim ental Social Psychology, 46 (March), 432 35. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming. Pronin, Emily, Christopher Y. Olivola, and K Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34 (February), 224 36. Rosenthal, Robert, and Ralph L. Rosnow (1985), Contrast Analysis: Focused Comparisons In The Analysis Of Variance. New York, NY: Cambridge.

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55 The American Journal of Sociology, 73 (July), 1 11. Journal of Consumer Research, 10 (September), 157 68. Journal of Business Research, 28 (November), 225 44. Stone, Eric R., Andrew J. Yates, and Allison S. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 32 (September), 1797 824. Waldfogel, Joel (2009), Princeton, NJ: Princeton U niversity Press. Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 38, ed. Darren W. Dahl, Gita V. Johar, and Stijn M. J. van Ossela er, Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research. Wooten, David B. (2000). Qualitative steps toward an expanded model of anxiety in gift giving. Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (June), 84 94. Zikmund Fisher, Brian J., Brianna Sarr, Angela Fagerlin, and P Of Perspective: Choosing For Others Differs From Choosing For Yourself In Making Journal of General Internal Medicine, 6 (June), 618 22.

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56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ychology from Columbia University in 2004. She earned a PhD in psychology from Princeton University in 2009, and she earned a PhD in marketing from the University of Florida in 2012. In the fall of 2012, she began a position as an assistant professor of ma rketing at the University of Cincinnati.