Note: The Crafoord Foundation sponsored this study and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond funded Ali Ahmed. The study reported in this article is based on experimental data that are available from the authors upon request.
Religious Context and Prosociality: An Experimental Study from Valparaíso, Chile
Article first published online: 4 SEP 2013
© 2013 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Volume 52, Issue 3, pages 627–637, September 2013
How to Cite
Ahmed, A. and Salas, O. (2013), Religious Context and Prosociality: An Experimental Study from Valparaíso, Chile. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52: 627–637. doi: 10.1111/jssr.12045
Acknowledgments: The authors are grateful to Anna Pedersen, Juan Sánchez, and Adam Wrede for their assistance in various parts of this study. They thank Jason Aimone, Philippe Steiner, Laura Olson, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions. They also appreciate the input of seminar participants at Linnaeus University, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, the Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, the Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion, the 2011 annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics and Culture, the 14 International Business and Social Science Research Conference, and the 2011 Lab2 International Conference on Experimental Methods and Economic Modelling.
- Issue published online: 4 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 4 SEP 2013
- religious context;
- religious environment;
- experimental study
Are people more prosocial in a religious context? We addressed this question through an experiment. We randomly placed participants in the control group in a neutral location (a lecture hall), and we placed participants in the experimental group in a religious location (a chapel). The participants then took part in a one-shot three-person public goods game, which measured participants’ degree of cooperativeness. The results showed that participants in the experimental group cooperated significantly more than did participants in the control group. Furthermore, participants’ beliefs about other participants’ cooperativeness were more positive in the experimental group than they were in the control group. Improved expectations of others partially explained the enhanced cooperation in the religious context. We found no main or interaction effect of self-reported religiosity in the experiment.