A Helping Hand is Hard at Work: Help-Seekers’ Underestimation of Helpers’ Effort
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Newark, Daniel A.; Bohns, Vanessa K.; Flynn, Francis J.
Whether people seek help depends on their estimations of both the likelihood and the value of getting it. Although past research has carefully examined how accurately help-seekers predict whether their help requests will be granted, it has failed to examine how accurately help-seekers predict the value of that help, should they receive it. In this paper, we focus on how accurately help-seekers predict a key determinant of help value, namely, helper effort. In four studies, we find that (a) helpers put more effort into helping than help-seekers expect (Studies 1-4); (b) people do not underestimate the effort others will expend in general, but rather only the effort others will expend helping them (Study 2); and (c) this underestimation of help effort stems from help-seekers’ failure to appreciate the discomfort—in particular, the guilt—that helpers would experience if they did not do enough to help (Studies 3 & 4).
help effort; help-seeking; social judgment; prosocial behavior; decision-making
Required Publisher Statement: © Elsevier. Final version published as: Newark, D. A., Bohns, V. K., & Flynn, F. J. (2017). A helping hand is hard at work: Help-seekers’ underestimation of helpers’ effort. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 139, 223-226. doi: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2017.01.001 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.