Conscientiousness Moderates the Influence of a Help-Eliciting Prime on Prosocial Behavior


This study tested whether personality influenced the effect of a help-eliciting prime. Participants (N = 203) attended two experimental sessions. In the first session, Conscientiousness was measured along with several control variables. Participants returned for a second session where they were randomly assigned to a help-eliciting prime or a Control prime. After completing the written prime exercise, participants were asked to respond to a helping scenario. Textual analyses showed that written responses to the help-eliciting prime differed across level of Conscientiousness, with individuals high in Conscientiousness writing more often about one’s moral obligation to help. An ANCOVA analysis revealed a significant main effect for Conscientiousness, as well as a significant interaction effect between Conscientiousness and the Prime. Individuals scoring higher in Conscientiousness were more likely to provide assistance, and this was particularly true if they were in the help-eliciting prime condition. Our results are supportive of an interactional model where one must consider both personality and situational factors to successfully understand and predict helping responses.

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Swickert, R. , Abushanab, B. , Bise, H. & Szer, R. (2014). Conscientiousness Moderates the Influence of a Help-Eliciting Prime on Prosocial Behavior. Psychology, 5, 1954-1961. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.517198.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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