A Puzzle Unsolved: Failure to Observe Different Effects of God and Religion Primes on Intergroup Attitudes
Ramsay, Jonathan E.
Tong, Eddie M. W.
Pang, Joyce S.
Date of Issue2016-01-26
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Religious priming has been found to have both positive and negative consequences, and recent research suggests that the activation of God-related and community-related religious cognitions may cause outgroup prosociality and outgroup derogation respectively. The present research sought to examine whether reminders of God and religion have different effects on attitudes towards ingroup and outgroup members. Over two studies, little evidence was found for different effects of these two types of religious primes. In study 1, individuals primed with the words “religion”, “God” and a neutral control word evaluated both ingroup and outgroup members similarly, although a marginal tendency towards more negative evaluations of outgroup members by females exposed to religion primes was observed. In study 2, no significant differences in attitudes towards an outgroup member were observed between the God, religion, and neutral priming conditions. Furthermore, the gender effect observed in study 1 did not replicate in this second study. Possible explanations for these null effects are discussed.
© 2016 Ramsay et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.