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Impact of Religiosity on Prosocial Behavior

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Many religious traditions are grounded partly in an ethic of care, promoting prosocial behavior and leading to the creation of many hospitals, homeless shelters, and charities (Hardy, 2013). Not surprisingly then, prior research has attempted to explore the connection between religion and prosocial behavior among individuals, often using measures of religiosity as an assessment of the centrality or salience of religion in an individual?s life (Huber and Huber, 2012). Findings on the connection between the two variables have been mixed and prior research is plagued by two main issues: vague measures of religiosity and a lack of ecological validity. The current set of studies seeks to address these shortcomings. Specifically, Study 1 utilizes a more comprehensive measure of religiosity, the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS; Huber and Huber, 2012) and evaluates the relationship between CRS scores, donation likelihood, and framing effects. Participants were asked to donate to either a religious or non-religious organization, with the question framed to emphasize either gain or loss. In Study 2, the CRS is integrated with a replication of Grossman and Parrett?s (2011) field experiment assessing the impact of religiosity on restaurant tipping. A positive correlation between CRS scores and donations (Study 1) or tipping (Study 2) was expected (Galen, 2012; Regnerus, Smith, & Sikkink, 1998) along with increased donations for the religious and loss-framed scenarios (Study 1). Contrary to expectations, religiosity was unrelated to prosocial behavior across both studies, however, a loss-framed message led to increased willingness to donate.

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Impact of Religiosity on Prosocial Behavior

Many religious traditions are grounded partly in an ethic of care, promoting prosocial behavior and leading to the creation of many hospitals, homeless shelters, and charities (Hardy, 2013). Not surprisingly then, prior research has attempted to explore the connection between religion and prosocial behavior among individuals, often using measures of religiosity as an assessment of the centrality or salience of religion in an individual?s life (Huber and Huber, 2012). Findings on the connection between the two variables have been mixed and prior research is plagued by two main issues: vague measures of religiosity and a lack of ecological validity. The current set of studies seeks to address these shortcomings. Specifically, Study 1 utilizes a more comprehensive measure of religiosity, the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS; Huber and Huber, 2012) and evaluates the relationship between CRS scores, donation likelihood, and framing effects. Participants were asked to donate to either a religious or non-religious organization, with the question framed to emphasize either gain or loss. In Study 2, the CRS is integrated with a replication of Grossman and Parrett?s (2011) field experiment assessing the impact of religiosity on restaurant tipping. A positive correlation between CRS scores and donations (Study 1) or tipping (Study 2) was expected (Galen, 2012; Regnerus, Smith, & Sikkink, 1998) along with increased donations for the religious and loss-framed scenarios (Study 1). Contrary to expectations, religiosity was unrelated to prosocial behavior across both studies, however, a loss-framed message led to increased willingness to donate.