Taking a Leap of Faith

Taking a Leap of Faith: How Religious Beliefs Can  Increase Risk Taking

Taking a Leap of Faith: How Religious Beliefs Can Increase Risk Taking

Across the world religion is extremely important to many people, the importance this faith has is likely to have some influence on peoples lives.

Previous research has shown examples of these influences known as ‘God primes’ such as moral behaviour, spatial attention, prosociality, honesty, allocation of punishment, humour as well as other areas.

However research has not examined whether God concepts, once activated, would affect risk taking.

We posit that the key in understanding the effect of God beliefs on risk taking lies in two associations—the association between God and control and that between control and risk taking.

The researchers proposed that belief in God would increase risk behaviours:

the primary hypothesis that God primes should elicit higher risk taking in a morally neutral task, and the mediator hypothesis that psychological control should mediate this effect.

The team conducted 3 experiments and were able to show some support for their hypothesis:

we hypothesized and found that supraliminal and subliminal God primes increased risk taking

That is to say that those who had been ‘God primed’ subliminally or not took more risks.

We proposed that there are learned schematic associations between God concepts and risk taking