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Did you know that writing on paper enables you to make ethical decisions relative to using a digital device to write? This could be true according to several publications in Marketing Science that evaluated more than 2,500 participants across China and the US. 

Medium of making a choice affects the decision one makes 

The researchers investigated the impact of using a digital device or paper form on decision-making among participants with other variables controlled. Decisions depended on moral considerations like ordering unhealthy or healthy entrée or making a charitable donation.

According to the studies, individuals who read choices on paper were likely to decide were likley to make donations to charity, pick a healthy entrée or select an educational material instead of entertainment material. Therefore, the impact on how the decision feels is the primary driving mechanism behind the effect. Researchers asked study participants to describe how tangible or real their decision felt. Surprisingly, participants said that deciding on paper was representative and more real relative to deciding on an electronic device. 

Follow-up evaluations confirmed that respondents were more willing to choose the ethical or acceptable option whenever a decision felt more realistic since they believed it best represented their identities as people. Interestingly, the researchers found that when individuals make judgments for others, this impact does not take place.

Another study required respondents to select an entree for themselves or on behalf of their friend. Again, while choosing for themselves, respondents were far more willing to choose a healthy choice when using paper than an electronic device.

Findings explain the choices customers and employees make 

Surprisingly, the medium didn’t come to play when picking an option on behalf of a friend. Therefore this proves that whenever someone is making a decision reflecting who they are, they are most likely to make an ethical decision.

Although the study findings may seem insignificant, they are informative to businesses. They explain that the form through which employees, clients, or the public make a decision could considerably impact their choices.