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Title:The effect of religious priming on recalled regrets
Author(s):Salomon, Erika
Advisor(s):Preston, Jesse L.; Kraus, Michael W.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):religious cognition
counterfactual thinking
Abstract:Recent research has demonstrated the effects of religious priming on cognition and behavior in the present. For example, priming participants with religious concepts promotes cooperation in economic games (Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007) and increases public self-awareness (Gervais & Norenzayan, 2012). Theories used to explain these effects typically focus on religion’s role in regulating social and moral behavior and building and binding together cooperative communities (e.g., Graham & Haidt, 2010; Shariff, et al., 2009). Several religions incorporate reflections on past behavior as part of their religious practice. Might religious priming also serve to affect how people think about their pasts? Research suggests that feelings of regret help to regulate behavior by making decision-making processes more careful (Reb, 2008) and behavior less risky (Richard, van der Pligt, & de Vries, 1996). Likewise, repetitively recalling regrets can promote improved behavior (Morrison, 2012). Based on these findings, I predicted that religious priming would influence the recall of regrets in four ways: (1) by making interpersonal regrets more accessible, (2) by increasing the experience of self-conscious emotions, (3) by making regrets more likely to be framed as actions (rather than inactions), and (4) by making moral regrets more accessible. Although four studies found no consistent evidence for any of these hypotheses, a meta-analysis of the reported studies revealed a small effect of religious priming on recall of interpersonal regrets. I discuss the implications for theories of religion.  
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Erika Salomon
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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