Track 7: Interpersonal Relations & Group Processes
Eugenia Wu (University of Pittsburgh)

7B. Gifts & Giving

Saturday, March 5
11:15am – 12:45pm EST
Discussant: Nora Williams (Washington University in St. Louis)
MC: Julian Givi (West Virginia University)
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Student Coordinator: Priscilla Peña (University of Rhode Island) (

Competitive Papers

Who Cares More? A Giver-Recipient Asymmetry in the Importance of Selecting a Good Gift
Authors: Yumei Mu (West Virginia University), Julian Givi (West Virginia University)
Presenting Author: Yumei Mu (West Virginia University)
This research adds to the gift-giving literature by studying a novel facet of gift-giving: the importance of selecting a good gift. Across four studies, we find that it is more important to gift givers than gift recipients that a good gift be given. This asymmetry is driven to a greater extent by givers overestimating the negative implications of giving a bad gift than it is by them overestimating the positive implications of giving a good gift, and it results in givers making choices that do not align with recipients’ preferences.
A Little Good Goes an Unexpectedly Long Way: Underestimating the Positive Impact of Kindness on Recipients
Authors: Amit Kumar (University of Texas at Austin), Nicholas Epley (University of Chicago Booth School of Business)
Presenting Author: Amit Kumar (University of Texas at Austin)
Prosocial acts increase happiness for both givers and receivers, but we find that an egocentric bias can lead givers to systematically undervalue their positive impact on recipients. Givers in six experiments predicted how recipients would respond to their prosociality and recipients reported their actual experience. In both field and laboratory settings, those performing an act of kindness consistently underestimated how positive their recipients would feel. Because choices to engage in prosocial behavior are guided in part by their expected value, miscalibrated expectations can create a barrier to prosociality in everyday life—to the detriment of one’s own, and others’, welfare.
I Have a Bad Feeling About This: How Givers and Recipients Respond Differently to Photo-Customized Products
Authors: Freeman Wu (Vanderbilt University), Adriana Samper (Arizona State University), Andrea Morales (Arizona State University), Gavan J. Fitzsimons (Duke)
Presenting Author: Freeman Wu (Vanderbilt University)
Photo-customized products for gifts, party favors, or promotional materials continue to grow in popularity. While givers are drawn to photo-customized goods, we contend that they fail to intuit how recipients ultimately respond to such products. We propose, in the context of consumable goods, that people will reduce their consumption of photo-customized products because consumption ruins the image of the person depicted on it. Because an image shares a fundamental relationship with the person it represents, the destruction of the photographic image through consumption will be construed as a symbolic form of harm that evokes moral violation concerns, thereby reducing consumption.
Experience for Me, Material for You: Asymmetric Perception of Happiness from Experiential and Material Purchases
Authors: Sarah Lim (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Joseph Goodman (The Ohio State University)
Presenting Author: Sarah Lim (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Despite evidence suggesting the hedonic benefits of experiential purchases, consumers seem to predominantly prefer material purchases for others. Why are consumers not giving more experiences? Do they mispredict others’ happiness? Across four studies, this research answers these questions and proposes a self-other asymmetry for the experiential advantage. Extending the better than average effect, the studies demonstrate that consumers tend to view others as more materialistic than themselves and thus expect others to derive greater happiness from material goods (vs. experiences). This view of others leads consumers to mispredict the happiness consumers derive from material goods, and it explains why consumers often give material gifts, instead of experiences, to others.

Flash Talks

To Earmark or Not to Earmark: Givers’ and Recipients’ Diverging Preferences for Earmarked Cash Gifts
Authors: Julian Givi (West Virginia University), Gopal Das (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore)
Presenting Author: Julian Givi (West Virginia University)
We investigate givers’ and recipients’ preferences regarding the practice of earmarking cash gifts; that is, suggesting a cash gift be used on a particular product. Three studies demonstrate that givers are less likely to earmark cash gifts than recipients prefer, because givers view earmarking as less thoughtful compared to recipients.
Giving Less to Those Who Have More: Gift Versatility and Financial Constraints
Authors: Lingrui Zhou (Duke University), Denny Huynh (Duke University), Eugenia Wu (University of Pittsburgh), Keisha Cutright (Duke University)
Presenting Author: Lingrui Zhou (Duke University)
A consumer’s financial situation can often be readily communicated to or perceived by others, and our research demonstrates that such financial information can affect gift giving behavior. We find that knowing the recipient is relatively unconstrained (vs. constrained) financially leads gift givers to opt for less (more) versatile gifts, even though gift versatility is generally preferred by recipients. These findings are one of the first to provide an empirical evaluation of how consumers give gifts based on knowledge of the recipient’s financial situation and highlight an important and underexplored dimension of consumer products (i.e., versatility).


A Day Late and a Dollar Short? Perspective Asymmetries in Late Gift Giving
Authors: Atar Herziger (The Ohio State University), Grant Donnelly (The Ohio State University)
Presenting Author: Atar Herziger (The Ohio State University)
Spending on gifts is substantial, but not always efficient. Across six studies, we demonstrate gift-giver aversion to lateness and the misalignment with recipient perceptions. Gift givers systematically over-estimate the harm of late gifts to perceptions of the giver and the giver-recipient relationship. This effect stems from a disproportionate focus on the self within the gift-exchange, which leads to an amplified sense of gift-giver unreliability and guilt. These asymmetries can be reduced with a simple perspective-taking intervention. This research adds to the literatures on inefficiency and perspective asymmetries in gift-giving and emphasizes the relevance of unintentional social failures to consumer behavior.
The gift is not just for you, but also for me: Exploring the moderating effects of gender on the relationship between narcissism and gift-giving
Authors: Shao-Chun Chuang (National Chung Cheng University), Kung-YU Hsu (National Chung Cheng University), Guei-Jen Kuo (National Chung Cheng University)
Presenting Author: Shao-Chun Chuang (National Chung Cheng University)
The selected gift simultaneously conveys the giver’s thoughts about the receiver and their certain characteristics, such as gender, education, and personality traits. However, most previous research in this area has focused on gender differences and neglected personality traits. This study explored how narcissism is related to gift-giving behavior in the workplace and the moderating effect of gender. The results indicate that high-narcissistic individuals tend to believe that giving gifts to supervisors is important and select well-known brands. Moreover, an effect of gender emerged, which suggests that high-narcissistic males tend to put in more effort and budget generously in gift-giving.
Worries in the Wrapping Paper: Investigating the Effect of Self-Construal on Gift-Selection Experience
Authors: Ruiqi Guan (University of Manitoba, Canada), Fang Wan (University of Manitoba, Canada), Hamed Aghakhani (Dalhousie university), Yuwei Jiang (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), na xiao (Laurentian University, Canada)
Presenting Author: Ruiqi Guan (University of Manitoba, Canada)
This research found that gift senders with high interdependent (vs low interdependent) self-construal are more likely to have negative gifting experience such as anxiety and perceived recipient’s satisfaction mediate the effect of self construal on gifting anxiety. We also found that the effect of senders’ interdependence self-construal on gift selection anxiety is weaker when gift recipients have closer social relationships. Lastly, self-satisfaction and perceived satisfaction mediate the relationship between self construal and anxiety separately.
Add Tip?: How Food Delivery Apps Can Encourage Higher Tips for Drivers
Authors: Khalia Jenkins (University of South Florida)
Presenting Author: Khalia Jenkins (University of South Florida)
Prepared food delivery applications frequently ask customers to provide a tip before receiving any service. For example, when customers order from a service like GrubHub, they are asked to indicate a tip amount (e.g., 15%) before ever interacting with the driver who will receive that tip. In the present work, we investigate ways the application (e.g., GrubHub) could influence the amount tipped. In two empirical studies, the author examines the effects of including a persuasive tip message, whether that message should be reward or duty motivated, and the sequencing of the tip screen on the tipped amount.
Deciding Servers' Pay One Customer at a Time: Tipping
Authors: Pavan Munaganti (San Jose State University), Ismail Karabas (Murray State University), Jeff Joireman (Washington State University)
Presenting Author: Pavan Munaganti (San Jose State University)
Tipping is an important part of the exchange between customers and frontline employees. Tips are a key source of revenue for several frontline employees e.g., servers. While tipping allows customers to punish/reward tipped employees, it also has a dark side. A remuneration system that is heavily dependent on customers’ momentary feelings could make it difficult for service providers to attract qualified employees, in turn hampering the service that customers receive, ultimately creating a situation that undermines the well-being of managers, servers and customers. We expose the vulnerability of voluntary tipping system by examining customer reaction to a non-voluntary COVID-19 fee.
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