The effect of supernatural priming on cheating behaviour

Lin, Patrick K. F., and Suarez, Lidia (2020) The effect of supernatural priming on cheating behaviour. Religions, 11 (6). 315.

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Research has shown that the mental activation of concepts related to supernatural agents (e.g., God, ghost) is capable of altering one’s moral behaviours. Based on the supernatural monitoring hypothesis, two experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of priming on cheating behaviour using undergraduate participants from Singapore. The results of the first experiment showed that participants who were primed with the concepts of God and ghost via a word-scramble task cheated less in a mathematical task than participants exposed to neutral primes. The second experiment showed that the activation of God and ghost concepts via a supraliminal priming method reduced the participants’ cheating in a riddle game, even when the participants were informed that they would be rewarded monetarily for correctly answering the riddles. The results suggested that the mental activation of supernatural agents could reduce cheating behaviour regardless of the presence or absence of explicit belief in supernatural agents.

Item ID: 63637
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2077-1444
Keywords: explicit supernatural belief; religious priming; cheating behaviour; religiosity
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Copyright Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2020 13:21
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520504 Psychology of religion @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society @ 25%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies @ 25%
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