Promotions can depict the negative situation of people that charity serves to help, or it can focus on the positive situation (and improvement) of those who are helped. Communications could convey negative states and feelings of sadness, or they could try to convey a happier mood.

Alternative tool name:

Tool variation:

Category: Info/communications

Sub-category: Emotion

Relevant theories: Loss aversion, Fairness

Type of evidence: Hypothetical/intentional experiment

Evidence strength (ad hoc assessment): 3

Main findings

Very limited and mixed evidence; little or no field/incentivised work. Some find negative images/messages reduce intention to donate, others find the opposite, or find this is mediated by congruency of image/message, and temporal framing


Practical relevance

Put in HUB but maybe not paper. There are a lot of EA charities with poor people you could depict. But not clear if we want to use this. However, the Givewell charities seem to be missing this to a large extent. “Reference point” could be important because of the perception that “people in Kenya have always been poor”.

Use cases


Often relevant

Key papers

Secondary papers

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  • tools/negativepositive_framing.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/02/28 02:29
  • by david