Friday, July 27, 2007

Concepts of religion, civic responsibility promote cooperation, according to study

Religious concepts promote cooperationCanadian psychologists have found that when people are primed with religious concepts they behave in more altruistic ways.

Secular humanists need not fear--the same results were produced when participants were instead primed with concepts relating to civic responsibility. Researchers used word games to surreptitiously introduce these concepts to their subjects. Interestingly enough, exit interviews revealed that participants were unaware that they had been primed.

What I find fascinating about the study is the extent to which human behavior can be so readily influenced. And it certainly raises intriguing possibilities for the mediator's opening statement, already important for the extent to which it can shape the negotiations to follow, as attorney-mediator Christopher Annunziata discussed recently at CKA Mediation & Arbitration Blog. All the more reason for mediators to carefully consider the words they choose to frame the conversation.

(Via Boing Boing.)