Benevolent God Concepts and Past Kind Behaviors Induce Generosity Toward Outgroups

Lee, Young-eun; Payir, Ayse; Solomon, Larisa Heiphetz

Humans behave more prosocially toward ingroup (versus outgroup) members. This pre-registered research examined the influence of God concepts and memories of past behavior on prosociality toward outgroups. In Study 1 (n=573), participants recalled their past kind or mean behavior (between-subjects) directed toward an outgroup. Subsequently, they completed a questionnaire assessing their views of God. Our dependent measure was the number of lottery entries given to another outgroup member. Participants who recalled their kind (versus mean) behavior perceived God as more benevolent, which in turn predicted more generous allocation to the outgroup (versus ingroup). Study 2 (n=281) examined the causal relation by manipulating God concepts (benevolent versus punitive). We found that not only recalling kind behaviors but perceiving God as benevolent increased outgroup generosity. The current research extends work on morality, religion, and intergroup relations by showing that benevolent God concepts and memories of past kind behaviors jointly increase outgroup generosity.


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Social Cognition

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September 27, 2023