Effects of religious setting on cooperative behaviour. A case study from Mauritius

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Social scientists and folk wisdom have both claimed that there is an association between religiosity and prosocial behavior, but hard evidence for such a relationship is limited. Studies show that religiosity is correlated with self- reported prosociality; however, this relationship is not very clear when it comes to observed prosocial behaviors. Experimental studies reveal a link between religious priming and prosocial behaviors, and these effects are evident irrespective of the degree of religiosity of the participant. Building on and combining the strengths of previous field designs, I report on the results of a field experiment in Mauritius examining the effects of religious environments on cooperation in a naturalistic setting. These results were consistent with previous findings that religious cues increase cooperation. Importantly, this effect was not dependent on degrees of prior religiosity. Plausible interpretations of such effects are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReligion, Brain, and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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