| Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
The Bedside Manner of Homo Economicus: How and Why Priming an Economic Schema Reduces Compassion
We investigate how, why and when activating economic schemas reduces the compassion that individuals extend to others in need when delivering bad news. Across three experiments, we show that unobtrusively priming economic schemas decreases the compassion that individuals express to others in need, that this effect is mediated by dampened feelings of empathy and heightened perceptions of unprofessionalism, and that it is circumscribed to bad news that has economic implications. We discuss implications for theory and research on schemas, procedural justice, emotion expression, and prosocial behavior.