The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality

  title={The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality},
  author={Ara Norenzayan and Azim F. Shariff},
  pages={58 - 62}
We examine empirical evidence for religious prosociality, the hypothesis that religions facilitate costly behaviors that benefit other people. Although sociological surveys reveal an association between self-reports of religiosity and prosociality, experiments measuring religiosity and actual prosocial behavior suggest that this association emerges primarily in contexts where reputational concerns are heightened. Experimentally induced religious thoughts reduce rates of cheating and increase… 

Religious Prosociality and Morality Across Cultures

The 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, engage in charity work, and are less likely to engage in fraudulent behaviors compared with non-religious individuals.

Pro- and Assortative-sociality in the Formation and Maintenance of Religious Groups

It is suggested that funding sources more friendly to a positive view of religions explains the research bias supporting religious prosociality.

Does religious belief promote prosociality? A critical examination.

  • L. Galen
  • Psychology
    Psychological bulletin
  • 2012
Factors necessitate a revision of the religious prosociality hypothesis and suggest that future research should incorporate more stringent controls in order to reach less ambiguous conclusions.

Different Effects of Religion and God on Prosociality With the Ingroup and Outgroup

It is argued here that religion and God are distinct concepts that activate distinct associations, and the effect of God and religion on prosociality toward the ingroup and outgroup is examined.

My Brother’s Keeper?

Past research argues that religious commitments shape individuals’ prosocial sentiments, including their generosity and solidarity. But what drives the prosociality of less religious people? Three

The cultural evolution of prosocial religions

It is explained how a package of culturally evolved religious beliefs and practices characterized by increasingly potent, moralizing, supernatural agents, credible displays of faith, and other psychologically active elements conducive to social solidarity promoted high fertility rates and large-scale cooperation with co-religionists, often contributing to success in intergroup competition and conflict.

Principles of Religious Prosociality: A Review and Reformulation

Historically, religion and religious belief have often been credited as the source of human morality. But what have been the real effects of religion on prosocial behavior? A review of the

Religious prosociality and aggression: It’s real

Individual religiosity relates to prosocial attitudes, behavioral intentions, and behaviors of minimal (no/low cost; limited to in-group members) prosociality in hypothetical situations. Yet evidence

Effects of religious setting on cooperative behavior: a case study from Mauritius

Abstract 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

Does religion increase moral behavior




God Is Watching You

Two studies aimed at resolving experimentally whether religion increases prosocial behavior in the anonymous dictator game are presented, focusing on the hypotheses that the religious prime had an ideomotor effect on generosity or that it activated a felt presence of supernatural watchers.

Signaling, solidarity, and the sacred: The evolution of religious behavior

These literatures are reviewed and both the proximate mechanisms and ultimate evolutionary processes essential for developing a comprehensive evolutionary explanation of religion are examined.

Honesty: One Effect of Primed Religious Representations

Most demonstrations of the automatic activation of mental representations and resulting behavioral effects have been conducted in the context of specific stereotypes. The main purpose of these

Atheists As “Other”: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society

Despite the declining salience of divisions among religious groups, the boundary between believers and nonbelievers in America remains strong. This article examines the limits of Americans'

The Religious Orientation Scale: Review and Meta-Analysis of Social Desirability Effects

Reliability and validity of scores on the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS) are reviewed with respect to social desirability. ROS measures intrinsic religiousness (I; religion as an end unto itself)

Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives

This paper presents an economic analysis of religious behavior that accounts for the continuing success of groups with strange requirements and seemingly inefficient prohibitions. The analysis does

The New Synthesis in Moral Psychology

  • J. Haidt
  • Philosophy, Psychology
  • 2007
A fourth principle is proposed to guide future research: Morality is about more than harm and fairness, and more research is needed on the collective and religious parts of the moral domain, such as loyalty, authority, and spiritual purity.

The Coevolution of Parochial Altruism and War

It is shown that under conditions likely to have been experienced by late Pleistocene and early Holocene humans, neither parochialism nor altruism would have been viable singly, but by promoting group conflict, they could have evolved jointly.

Costly Punishment Across Human Societies

Experimental results from 15 diverse populations show that all populations demonstrate some willingness to administer costly punishment as unequal behavior increases, and the magnitude of this punishment varies substantially across populations, and costly punishment positively covaries with altruistic behavior across populations.

The nature of human altruism

Current gene-based evolutionary theories cannot explain important patterns of human altruism, pointing towards the importance of both theories of cultural evolution as well as gene–culture co-evolution.