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Does Religion Increase Moral Behavior?
Religion affects both moral decision-making and moral behavior. Compared to the more utilitarian non-believers, religious believers tend to endorse a meta-ethics rooted in deontic rules and views of objective moral truths. Believers are also more likely to endorse authority, loyalty and purity as motives for moral concern. The moral importance of prosocial behavior, however, is endorsed across the religiosity spectrum. Religiosity is associated with higher self-reports, but not behavioral measures of prosocial behavior. This discrepancy can be explained on the one hand by a tendency for the religious to be higher in impression management and self-enhancement, and on the other hand by a failure of lab-based behavioral tasks to capture the real life circumstances under which religion inspires prosocial behavior.