Gervais, W. M., Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2011). Do you believe in atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101(6), 1189.
“… there are more than half a billion atheists in the world (defined as people who do not believe in God; Zuckerman, 2007) …” (p 1189)
“By definition, a cooperative group produces benefits to a group but requires the costly investment from numerous individuals. However, it is possible for some individuals to collect the benefits provided by the group without actually contributing their own time or effort. These selfish freeriders can outcompete other members within their group by extracting benefits from the group without paying any associated costs. Within a group, defection is advantageous to the individual, even as it becomes profoundly costly to the overall performance and stability of the group (e.g., Sober & Wilson, 1998).” (p 1190)
“… religious beliefs … outsourcing social monitoring and punishment to supernatural agents not bound to the costs of monitoring and punishment.” (p 1190)
“… conjunction fallacy (Tversky & Kahnemann, 1983) …” (p 1192)
“Study 1 demonstrated explicit distrust of atheists, but it is possible that, instead of being representative of personal feelings, participants’ explicit responses may have instead reflected cultural norms determining which groups are fair game for criticism and which should be insulated.” (p 1194)
“… whereas religious people strongly distrust atheists, atheists neither trust nor distrust atheists, relative to people in general.” (p 1194)
“Bootstrapping analysis revealed that data were consistent with supernatural monitor- ing concerns fully and significantly mediating the relationship between belief in God and conjunction errors (95% CI of the indirect effect = .07, 1.84). … cannot establish causal relationships …” (p 1198)
“… data were consistent with the hypothesis that supernatural monitoring concerns mediate the relationship between belief in God and atheist distrust.” (p 1198)
“… Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998).” (p 1198)
“Authoritarianism was assessed with the 30-item Right Wing Authoritarianism scale (α= .94; Altemeyer, 1988).” (p 1199)
“In studies where religious primes increase prosocial tendencies and honesty, typically the effect of self-reported religiosity is null, at least in modern Western societies. Finally, there are multiple motivations for prosocial behavior; although religious belief appears to be one such source of prosociality under some contexts, it is far from the only source available, and it is exceedingly likely that most atheists act morally, albeit for nonreligious reasons (e.g., Beit-Hallahmi, 2010).” (p 1203)
“Religion appears to be a ‘social glue’ in the world, yet the least religious countries are actually among the most cooperative and peaceful on the planet (e.g., Zuckerman, 2008). … it is important to recognize that religious prosociality is primarily a theoretical framework for explaining the types of beliefs that can act as motivators of human cooperation in the absence of large-scale institutions for promoting prosociality.” (p 1203)
“Laboratory investigations converge with this notion, as priming secular justice concepts (e.g., civic, jury) is as effective as reminders of a watchful God for promoting prosocial behavior (Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007), and both governments and gods appear to serve largely interchangeable psychological functions (e.g., Kay, Shepherd, Blatz, Chua, & Galinsky, 2010).” (p 1203)
Altemeyer, B. (1988). Enemies of freedom: Understanding right-wing authoritarianism. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Beit-Hallahmi, B. (2010). Morality and immorality among the irreligious. In P. Zuckerman (Ed.), Atheism and secularity (pp. 113–148). Westport, CT: Greenwood.
Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1464–1480. doi: 10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2064
Sober, E., & Wilson, D. S. (1998). Unto others: The evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1983). Extension versus intuitive reasoning: The conjunction fallacy in probability judgment. Psychological Review, 90, 293–315. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.90.4.293
Zuckerman, P. (2007). Atheism: Contemporary numbers and patterns. In M. Martin (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to atheism (pp. 47–66). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/ CCOL0521842700.004
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