Material Aid And Social Attraction

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Journal Of Applied Social Psychology


Aid programs can be used as an antidote to social conflict. Under certain conditions, however, they may create hostility. In this experiment subjects representing six hypothetical countries (1) either received or did not receive material aid from a seventh nation and (2) had a high or low level of material need. Attraction for the aid-giver decreased markedly when aid was denied, but increased very little when it was granted. When subjects were high in material needs, the denial of aid produced maximal antagonism. However, when aid was received, high need did not enhance attraction to the donor. The implications of these findings for an exchange theory of attraction and for aid giving are discussed.