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Big Gods in small places: the Random Allocation Game in Mauritius

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  • Dimitris Xygalatas
  • Silvie Kotherova, Czech Republic
  • Peter Mano, Czech Republic
  • Radek Kundt , Czech Republic
  • Jakub Cigan, Czech Republic
  • Eva Kundtová Klocová
  • ,
  • Lang Martin, United States

The relationship between religion and social behavior has been the subject of longstanding debates. Recent evolutionary models of religious morality propose that particular types of supernatural beliefs related to moralizing and punitive high gods will have observable effects on prosociality. We tested this hypothesis, comparing the effects of diverse religious beliefs, practices, and contexts among Hindus in Mauritius. We found that specific aspects of religious belief (related to moralizing gods) as well as religious practice (participation in high-intensity rituals) were significant predictors of prosocial behavior. These findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of religious prosociality and have significant implications for the evolution of morality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReligion, Brain, and Behavior
Pages (from-to)243-261
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018

    Research areas

  • Big Gods, Mauritius, experimental anthropology, morality, random allocation game, religion

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