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The Effect of Religious Priming in Pro-social and Destructive Behavior

In this paper, we study the behavioural impact of religious priming by showing participants religious words in a scrambled sentence task before a dictator game and a joy-of-destruction game. We also elicited data on individual religiosity and religious affiliation using a questionnaire. Priming religious words significantly increased pro-social behaviour in the dictator game, and the effect was especially striking among those reporting no religion, atheists and agnostics. The religious prime has no significant effect in mitigating destructive behaviour or own expectations of the other's destruction choice, but both destructive behaviour and expectations correlate positively with the multi-dimensional religiosity measure.

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