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

Author

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  • Ahmed, Ali M.

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Salas, Osvaldo

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahmed, Ali M. & Salas, Osvaldo, 2008. "In the back of your mind: Subliminal influences of religious concepts on prosocial behavior," Working Papers in Economics 331, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0331
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/18838
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. The Adam Smith Institute, Business Ethics, and the Ayn Rand Lecture
      by andrewdsmith in The Past Speaks on 2012-06-24 01:01:30

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    Cited by:

    1. Gupta, Gautam & Mahmud, Minhaj & Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Santanu & Neelim, Ananta, 2018. "Religion, minority status, and trust: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 180-205.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    religion; priming; dictator game; prisoner’s dilemma game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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