John on August 30, 2007 at 12:49 am
Study of the week connects God to generosity:
In a study to be published in the September issue of Psychological Science journal, researchers investigated how thinking about God and notions of a higher power influenced positive social behaviour, specifically cooperation with others and generosity to strangers.
The researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the positive results for the religious prime in both studies. Sixty-eight per cent of subjects from the religious prime groups allocated $5 or more to anonymous strangers, compared to 22 per cent from groups where neutral or no concepts were activated.
Atheists will be relieved to hear that a similar test of secular thinking resulted in similar good behavior compared to a control group:
In the second study the researchers also investigated the strength of the religious prime relative to a secular prime. They used concepts of civic responsibility and social justice to prime subjects (with target words civic, jury, court, police and contract) and obtained almost identical results.
In real life, however, religious people (Christians in particular) out give secularists by any measure. Perhaps it’s just that we think about more.