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Experimental Psychology (Russia)

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 2072-7593

ISSN (online): 2311-7036

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/exppsy

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

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Morality and religion: a study of moral judgments of orthodox Christians and nonbelievers in Russian culture 1919

Arutyunova K.R.
Postgraduate Student, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
e-mail: arutyunova@inbox.ru

Agarkov V.A.
PhD in Psychology, Research Associate, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
e-mail: agargor@yandex.ru

Alexandrov Yu.I.
Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Laboratory of the Neural Bases of Mind, Institute of Psychology RAS, Moscow, Russia
e-mail: nyualex@psychol.ras.ru

Abstract
Morality and religion represent an important part of human social behaviour. This work is focused on studying whether and how characteristics of moral judgments may differ in individuals who believe or do not believe in god, and what role religious experience and religiosity level may play in the formation of moral judgments. We analysed responses of 266 participants of an internet-based study, who categorised themselves either as Orthodox Christians (n=130), or nonbelievers (n=136). The participants were asked to assess moral permissibility of harmful prosocial actions in a set of moral scenarios. It has been shown that in general individuals, both believers and nonbelievers deliver comparable moral judgments. However, the orthodox participants judged less permissible to sacrifice one person to save more people’s lives, i.e. their judgments were less utilitarian. Religiosity level did not correlate with any of the characteristics of moral judgments. The results are discussed in relation to evolutionary functions of morality and religion as well as the role of religion in the formation of individual experience in the sociocultural environment

Keywords: morality, religion, culture, individual experience, moral judgement, moral dilemma

Column: Cognitive Psychology

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/exppsy.2016090103

For Reference

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