Research demonstrating religious concepts' influence on behavior through priming leaves open questions of who is sensitive to this priming. Though religious participants respond more reliably, nonreligious participants in university samples have responded to primes (Randolph-Seng & Neilsen 2007, Shariff & Norenzayan 2007). Further questions include whether religious priming is a special case and how diverse are the effects of religious concepts. This study tests for effects of primes drawn from three religious narratives, replicating one and testing two new behavioral measures, and includes as predictors not only personal religious affiliation but also experience with religious caretakers. Results fail to replicate the increased fairness of Shariff & Norenzayan (2007), but do show effects of a Paradise-based priming condition consistent with their predictions (2008, Shariff & Rhemtulla 2011). This failure to replicate may be evidence of an interaction with context or of an “unpriming” effect like that described by Sparrow & Wegner (2006).
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Thesis advisor: Watson, Neil
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