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In the back of your mind: Subliminal influences of religious concepts on prosocial behavior

Ali M. Ahmed () and Osvaldo Salas ()
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Ali M. Ahmed: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG
Osvaldo Salas: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG

No 331, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: Does religion enhance prosocial behavior? We investigate the ways in which implicit influences of religious concepts affect generosity and cooperation. In contrast to previous studies, we assess the direct impact of religion as an independent variable on prosocial behavior. We do so by subliminally priming participants with religious concepts in a scrambled sentence task before they play a dictator game and a prisoner’s dilemma game. We found that implicit priming of religious concepts significantly increased prosocial behavior in both games. This result was present among both religious and nonreligious participants. Selfreported measure of religiosity was related neither to generosity nor to cooperation.

Keywords: religion; priming; dictator game; prisoner’s dilemma game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 Z12 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-soc
Date: 2008-12-08
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0331

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