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      Beliefs about God, the afterlife and morality support the role of supernatural policing in human cooperation

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      Evolution and Human Behavior
      Elsevier BV

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          Most cited references28

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          In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies

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            Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting.

            We examined the effect of an image of a pair of eyes on contributions to an honesty box used to collect money for drinks in a university coffee room. People paid nearly three times as much for their drinks when eyes were displayed rather than a control image. This finding provides the first evidence from a naturalistic setting of the importance of cues of being watched, and hence reputational concerns, on human cooperative behaviour.
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              God is watching you: priming God concepts increases prosocial behavior in an anonymous economic game.

              We present two studies aimed at resolving experimentally whether religion increases prosocial behavior in the anonymous dictator game. Subjects allocated more money to anonymous strangers when God concepts were implicitly activated than when neutral or no concepts were activated. This effect was at least as large as that obtained when concepts associated with secular moral institutions were primed. A trait measure of self-reported religiosity did not seem to be associated with prosocial behavior. We discuss different possible mechanisms that may underlie this effect, focusing on the hypotheses that the religious prime had an ideomotor effect on generosity or that it activated a felt presence of supernatural watchers. We then discuss implications for theories positing religion as a facilitator of the emergence of early large-scale societies of cooperators.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Evolution and Human Behavior
                Evolution and Human Behavior
                Elsevier BV
                10905138
                January 2011
                January 2011
                : 32
                : 1
                : 41-49
                Article
                10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.07.008
                42a0cef9-6a4b-4edd-8f60-868686d05e61
                © 2011

                http://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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