Four Failures to Demonstrate that Scarcity Magnifies Preference for Familiarity
Keywords:Scarcity, Familiarity, Open Science
AbstractAs economic inequality increases in the United States and around the world, psychologists have begun to study how the psychological experience of scarcity impacts people's decision making. Recent work in psychology suggests that scarcity—the experience of having insufficient resources to accomplish a goal—makes people more strongly prefer what they already like relative to what they already dislike or like less. That is, scarcity may polarize preferences. One common preference is the preference for familiarity: the systematic liking of more often experienced stimuli, compared to less often experienced stimuli. Across four studies—three experiments and one cross- sectional survey (all pre-registered; see https://osf.io/7zyfr/)—we investigated whether scarcity polarizes the preference for familiarity. Despite consistently replicating people's preference for the familiar, we consistently failed to show that scarcity increased the degree to which people preferred the familiar to the unfamiliar. We discuss these results in light of recent failures to replicate famous findings in the scarcity literature.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Stephen Antonoplis, Serena Chen
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