Positive correlations have been found between several self-report measures of religiousness and racial prejudice; however, no experiment has yet examined the direct effect of religion on racial attitudes. In the current studies, persons were subliminally primed with Christian or neutral words. Then covert racial prejudice (Study 1) and general negative affect toward African-Americans (Study 2) were assessed. Participants subliminally primed with Christian words displayed more covert racial prejudice against African-Americans (Study 1) and more general negative affect toward African-Americans (Study 2) than did persons primed with neutral words. The effects of priming on racial prejudice remained even when statistically controlling for pre-existing levels of religiousness and spirituality. Possible mechanisms for the observed effect of Christian religion on racial prejudice are discussed.
Source: “Priming Christian Religious Concepts Increases Racial Prejudice” from Social Psychological and Personality Science
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