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Psychologists at Ohio University have found that athiests are nicer to Christians than vice versa.

The study also found that they may be kinder to remedy a popularly-held stereotype that atheists are less moral than religious people.

The study of around 1,400 people, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found that Christians have an economic bias in that they prefer to do business with people who hold the same beliefs as them.

Atheists showed no such bias.

The study author, Colleen Cowgill, told PsyPost she used an economic game to elicit the results:

I chose to operationalise this through an economic game because I thought it would be an ideal paradigm to capture constructs like ‘generosity’ and ‘fairness,’ which can directly relate to ideas of morality and trustworthiness.

Indeed, we found in multiple studies that our atheist participants behaved more fairly towards partners they believed were Christians than our Christians participants behaved towards partners they believed were atheists, which are results that appear to support the original hypotheses.

Christians gave more money to fellow Christians, while atheists were indiscriminate. However, when religious identity was concealed, these effects disappeared and atheists gave more frequently to their peers.

Cowgill said:

I think it is quite telling that atheists are perhaps so acutely aware of negative stereotypes about themselves that there are observable differences in their behaviour as compared with Christians in even this small, low-stakes type of interaction.

Arguably, they are on some level aware of a pretty serious stigma about their identity.

HT BigThink

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