Social Decision Heuristics Used by Families in Allocating Resources
Göteborg Psychological Reports, 1999, 29 (3)
16 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 14, 2014
The hypothesis is proposed that due to shallow information processing families frequently use an equal-division social decision heuristic in allocating resources. In Study 1 a survey was conducted of a nationwide sample (n=446) and a smaller student sample (n=50) consisting of married or cohabiting participants. In line with our prediction, it was found that allocating part of a monthly income to joint or individual savings followed an equal-division rule. However, choices to maximize joint savings were almost equally frequent. Since the prevalence of a joint family economy correlated with these choices, participants probably applied a social-decision heuristic of subscribing to a status-quo rule. In Study 2 a sample of 100 students made fictitious choices of allocating part of a monthly income to joint or individual savings after either an income increase or decrease. Consistent with the results of Study 1, the equal-division rule was used after an income increase and when the prior allocations were equal. However, an income decrease or unequal prior allocations appeared to induce less shallow information processing resulting in the application of an equity rule.
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