Supernatural agency and forgiveness
until further notice
Number of pages
SourceJournal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 3, 1, (2015), pp. 85-110
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
The present research examined the hypothesis that supernatural agency attributions underlie the relation between religion and forgiveness. In two experiments a priming procedure was used to make religious concepts temporarily more salient. In Experiment 1, a religion prime marginally enhanced forgiveness but did not enhance supernatural attributions, compared to a control group. However, correlational support was found for the hypothesis that supernatural attributions were associated with more forgiveness, less punishment and less attributions of responsibility to the offender. In Experiment 2, we attempted to enhance supernatural attributions by first manipulating participants' sense of control (high vs. low) before presenting a religion prime. As expected, in the low control condition, religious priming enhanced the perceived likelihood that a higher power had an influence on violent situations, and enhanced participants' forgiveness towards the offenders. Importantly, mediation analysis further supported the existence of a relation between supernatural agency attributions and participants' ability to forgive.
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