Wang and McClung (2012)
|Wang and McClung (2012)|
|Title:||The immorality of illegal downloading: The role of anticipated guilt and general emotions|
|Author(s):||Wang, X., McClung, S. R.|
|Citation:||Wang, X., & McClung, S. R. (2012). The immorality of illegal downloading: The role of anticipated guilt and general emotions. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 153-159.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data for the present study were collected through an online survey. 547 participants were recruited from various classes at two universities in the United States and were provided the survey URL.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
To extend previous cognition-based illegal downloading research, this project postulates that anticipated guilt, general emotions, attitudes, and norms collectively determine intentions to download digital files illegally. Our findings indicate that college students were more likely to download if they had more favorable attitudes, perceived greater social approval, and perceived more control over illegal downloading. More importantly, this study reveals that college students generally felt a low level of anticipated guilt toward illegal downloading. Anticipated guilt was a significant, negative predictor of intentions to download among those who engaged in illegal downloading in the previous 6 months, but not among those did not. General anticipated emotions predicted intentions to download among the whole sample. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Main Results of the Study
This article is an attempt to examine the emotional aspect of illegal file sharing by examining the influence of guilt, a moral emotion, on intentions to engage in illegal digital downloading or digital piracy. It examines the moderating role of past downloading behavior on the relationship between anticipated guilt/emotions and intentions, which has not been examined in the illegal downloading context, by casting light on the means and standard deviations of guilt and general emotions among those who engaged in digital piracy and among those who rarely or never downloaded on both the emotional and cognitive variables. More specifically, this article shows that:
- Demographic variables, such as gender, race, and residential status, did not predict intentions to download in the next 2 months and were not included in the final results. Past behavior was a significant predictor of intentions, showing that those who downloaded in the past 6 months were more likely to download in the future than those who did not.
- Those who downloaded had higher intentions to download than those who never downloaded or who downloaded 6 months ago.
- Unlike anticipated guilt, which only predicts intentions for the downloaders, anticipated general emotions predict intentions to engage in illegal downloading for the whole sample. Thus, the influence of these positive general emotions does not depend on the appraisal of previous events or previous behavior.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Future research concerning illegal downloading, or consumer ethics research, may benefit from including emotional determinants of intentions.
- Anti-piracy campaigns can use emotional appeals, in addition to addressing attitudes, norms, and perceived behavioral control among the potential target audience.
- Although it might be difficult to lower the magnitude of anticipated general emotions, anti-piracy efforts can point out the positive emotions that one might experience by not engaging in illegal downloading or can enhance the audience’s positive emotions by providing them with alternatives, for example, low-cost legal copies of the digital content.
- The inclusion of anticipated guilt is especially relevant for understanding and designing future anti-piracy efforts given that the recording, motion picture, and software industries frequently focus on the moral and ethical aspect of illegal downloading through a peer-to-peer network.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||University students|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|