Religious Prosociality and Morality Across Cultures How Social Enforcement of Religion Shapes the Effects of Personal Religiosity on Prosocial and Moral Attitudes and Behaviors

Olga Stavrova*, Pascal Siegers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The question of whether religiosity is linked to prosocial behavior is currently hotly debated in psychology. This research contributes to this debate by showing that the nature of individuals' religious orientations and their relationships to prosociality depend on their country's social enforcement of religiosity. Our analyses of data from more than 70 countries indicate that in countries with no social pressure to follow a religion, religious individuals are more likely to endorse an intrinsic religious orientation (Study 1), engage in charity work (Study 2), disapprove of lying in their own interests (Study 3), and are less likely to engage in fraudulent behaviors (Study 4) compared with non-religious individuals. Ironically, in secular contexts, religious individuals are also more likely to condemn certain moral choices than non-religious individuals (Study 2). These effects of religiosity substantially weaken (and ultimately disappear) with increasing national levels of social enforcement of religiosity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-333
Number of pages19
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • self-determination theory
  • religiosity
  • moral attitudes
  • prosocial and antisocial behavior
  • culture
  • SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY
  • INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
  • EXTRINSIC REWARDS
  • PEOPLE HAPPY
  • GALEN 2012
  • METAANALYSIS
  • PREJUDICE
  • CHOICE
  • MODEL
  • INDIVIDUALS

Cite this