Friday, July 27, 2007

The Subtle Prime

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver have been testing whether religion might encourage altruism. One theory is that the concept of "God" acts as some kind of policing agent over behavior. Seems that experiments showed that people who were primed with religious concepts (in a pre-text exercise) tended to give, on average, more than twice as much as people in the control group. However, people "who declared themselves religious before the study were no more generous than non-believers." Obviously, their tests only looked into believers of a Judeo-Christian kind of all-powerful and judging deity. But I wonder if there are implications for other spiritual paths.

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