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Curr Psychol. 2016;35(3):344-353. Epub 2014 Dec 24.

The Effects of the Activation of Money and Credit Card vs. that of Activation of Spirituality - Which One Prompts Pro-Social Behaviours?

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Psychology Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, ul. Bażyńskiego 4, 80-592 Gdańsk, Poland.


Pro-social behaviours may be prompted or inhibited depending on the situation. Numerous experiments show that, when exposed to the idea of money, people are less willing to help, devote their time or share their resources with others (Vohs et al. Science, 314, 1154-1156, 2006, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(3), 208-212, 2008). Conversely, when exposed to the idea of spirituality, they often cheat less and are more willing to help others (Mazar and Ariely Journal of Marketing Research, 45, 633-644, 2008; Randolph-Seng and Nielsen The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 17(4), 303-315, 2007). The aim of this article is to present the results of two experiments in which we activated thoughts about money, i.e. both cash and credit cards, and thoughts about spirituality in order to find out in what way these two kinds of activation may influence pro-social behaviours. In experiment 1, participants, when reminded of money, offered lower donations to others whereas those reminded of spirituality offered higher donations. In experiment 2, those participants reminded of money offered to devote less time to help others whereas those reminded of spirituality offered to devote more time to help others.


Money; Priming; Pro-social behaviour; Spirituality

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