Religious Priming Papers

Here is a running list of the studies we know about using religious priming. If you have a paper (or know of one) that we are missing, please email us.

Ahmed, A. M., & Hammarstedt, M. (2011). The effect of subtle religious representations on cooperation. International Journal of Social Economics, 38(11), 900-910.


Ahmed, A. M., & Salas, O. (2013). Religious Context and Prosociality: An Experimental Study from Valparaíso, Chile. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52(3), 627-637.


Ahmed, A. M., & Salas, O. (2011). Implicit influences of Christian religious representations on dictator and prisoner’s dilemma game decisions. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 40(3), 242-246.



 Batara, J.B.L. (2016). Religious song as a facilitator of prosocial behavior. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology, 5, 3-12



Benjamin, D. J., Choi, J. J., & Fisher, G. W. (2010). Religious identity and economic behavior (No. w15925). National Bureau of Economic Research.


Carpenter, T. P., & Marshall, M. A. (2009). An examination of religious priming and intrinsic religious motivation in the moral hypocrisy paradigm. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(2), 386-393.


Clobert, M., & Saroglou, V. (2013). Intercultural non-conscious influences: Prosocial effects of Buddhist priming on Westerners of Christian tradition. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37, 459-466.


Cohen, E., Mundry, R., & Kirschner, S. (2014). Religion, synchrony, and cooperation. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 4(1), 20-30.


Chan, K. Q., Tong, E. M. W., & Tan, Y. L. (2014). Taking a Leap of Faith Reminders of God Lead to Greater Risk Taking. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(8), 901-909.


Dijksterhuis, A., Preston, J., Wegner, D. M., & Aarts, H. (2008). Effects of subliminal priming of self and God on self-attribution of authorship for events. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(1), 2-9.



Fergus, T.A. & Rowatt, W.C. (2015). Uncertainty, god, and scrupulosity: Uncertainty salience and priming god concepts interact to cause greater fears of sin. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 46, 93-98.


Gervais, W. M., & Norenzayan, A. (2012). Like a camera in the sky? Thinking about God increases public self-awareness and socially desirable responding. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 298-302.


Gomes, C., & McCullough, M. (2015), The Effects of Implicit Religious Primes on Dictator Game Allocations: A Preregistered Replication Experiment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.


Ginges, J., Hansen, I., & Norenzayan, A. (2009). Religion and support for suicide attacks. Psychological Science, 20(2), 224-230.


Granqvist, P., Mikulincer, M., Gewirtz, V., & Shaver, P. R. (2012). Experimental findings on God as an attachment figure: Normative processes and moderating effects of internal working models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(5), 804.


Hadnes, M., & Schumacher, H. (2012). The Gods Are Watching: An Experimental Study of Religion and Traditional Belief in Burkina Faso. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51(4), 689-704.


Holbrook, C., Fessler, D. M., & Pollack, J. (2016). With God on our side: Religious primes reduce the envisioned physical formidability of a menacing adversary. Cognition, 146, 387-392.


Horton, J. J., Rand, D. G., & Zeckhauser, R. J. (2011). The online laboratory: Conducting experiments in a real labor market. Experimental Economics, 14(3), 399-425.


Inzlicht, M. & Tullett, A. M. (2010). Reflecting on God: religious primes can reduce neurophysiological response to errors. Psychological Science 21(8): 1184-1190.


Johnson, M. K., Rowatt, W. C., & LaBouff, J. (2010). Priming Christian religious concepts increases racial prejudice. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(2), 119-126.


Johnson, M. K., Rowatt, W. C., & LaBouff, J. P. (2012). Religiosity and prejudice revisited: In-group favoritism, out-group derogation, or both?. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 4(2), 154-168.


LaBouff, J. P., Rowatt, W. C., Johnson, M. K., & Finkle, C. (2012). Differences in attitudes toward outgroups in religious and nonreligious contexts in a multinational sample: A situational context priming study. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 22(1), 1-9.


Laurin, K., Kay, A. C., & Fitzsimons, G. M. (2011). Divergent effects of activating thoughts of God on self-regulation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 102(1), 4-21.


Laurin, K., Shariff, A.F., Henrich, J., & Kay, A. (2012). Outsourcing punishment to god: Beliefs in divine control reduce earthly punishment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1741), 3272-3281.


Lin, P.K.F., Tong, E.M.W., Lee, L.N., Low, A.H.M., & Gomes, D. (2016). The Prosocial Impact of God Concept Priming on God Believers. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 3(1), 93-103.


McKay, R., Efferson, C., Whitehouse, H., & Fehr, E. (2011). Wrath of God: religious primes and punishment. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences278(1713), 1858-1863.


McCullough, M. E., Carter, E. C., DeWall, C. N., & Corrales, C. M. (2012). Religious cognition down-regulates sexually selected, characteristically male behaviors in men, but not in women. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(5), 562-568.


Nieuwboer, W., van Schie, H.T., Karremans, J.C., Wigboldus, D.H.J. (2015). Supernatural Agency and Forgiveness. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 3(1), 85-110.


Pichon, I., Boccato, G., & Saroglou, V. (2007). Nonconscious influences of religion on prosociality: A priming study. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37(5), 1032-1045.


Ramsay, J. E., Pang, J. S., Shen, M. J., & Rowatt, W. C. (2014). Rethinking Value Violation: Priming Religion Increases Prejudice in Singaporean Christians and Buddhists. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 24(1), 1-15.


Rand, D. G., Dreber, A., Haque, O. S., Kane, R. J., Nowak, M. A., & Coakley, S. (2013). Religious motivations for cooperation: an experimental investigation using explicit primes. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 4(1), 31-48.


Randolph-Seng, B. & Nielsen, M. E. (2007) Honesty: One effect of primed religious representations. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 17(4): 303-315.


Rodriguez, L. M., Neighbors, C., & Foster, D. W. (2013, April 25). Priming Effects of Self-Reported Drinking and Religiosity. Psychology of addictive behaviors: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors, 1-9, Washington, DC, USA.


Rounding, K., Lee, A., Jacobson, J. A., & Ji, L. J. (2012). Religion replenishes self-control. Psychological Science, 23(6), 635-642.



Sagioglou, C., & Forstmann, M. (2013). Activating Christian religious concepts increases intolerance of ambiguity and judgment certainty. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(5), 933-939.


Saroglou, V., Corneille, O., & Van Cappellen, P. (2009). “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”: Religious priming activates submissive thoughts and behaviors. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 19(3), 143-154.


Sasaki, J. Y., Kim, H. S., Mojaverian, T., Kelley, L. D., Park, I. Y., & Janušonis, S. (2013). Religion priming differentially increases prosocial behavior among variants of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 8(2), 209-215.


Shariff, A.F., & Norenzayan, A. (2007). God is watching you: Supernatural agent concepts increase prosocial behavior in an anonymous economic game. Psychological Science, 18, 803-809.


Toburen, T., & Meier, B. P. (2010). Priming God-related concepts increases anxiety and task persistence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29(2), 127-143.


Tsang, J. A., Schulwitz, A., & Carlisle, R. D. (2012). An experimental test of the relationship between religion and gratitude. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 4(1), 40-55.


Van Cappellen, P., Corneille, O., Cols, S., & Saroglou, V. (2011). Beyond mere compliance to authoritative figures: Religious priming increases conformity to informational influence among submissive people. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 21(2), 97-105.


Van Pachterbeke, M., Freyer, C., & Saroglou, V. (2011). When authoritarianism meets religion: Sacrificing others in the name of abstract deontology. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 898-903.


Van Tongeren, D.R., Newbound, H. & Johnson, E.  (2016). The Interactive Effects of Religiosity and Priming Religion Following Recall of a Values Violation. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 23, 211-224.


Xygalatas, D. (2012). Effects of religious setting on cooperative behavior: a case study from Mauritius. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 3(2), 91-102.


 Yilmaz, O., & Bahçekapili, H. G. (2015). Without God, everything is permitted? The reciprocal influence of religious and meta-ethical beliefs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58, 95-100.

 Yilmaz, O., & Bahçekapili, H. G. (2016). Supernatural and secular monitors promote human cooperation only if they remind of punishment. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37(1), 79-84.

 Yilmaz, O., Karadöller, D. Z., & Sofuoglu, G. (2016). Analytic thinking, religion and prejudice: An experimental test of the dual-process model of mind. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion (Advanced Online Publication).