Date of Degree

2-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Curtis D. Hardin

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social Psychology

Keywords

Anxiety, Automatic Inter-Religious Prejudice, Inter-religious relationships, Shared Reality Theory

Abstract

Shared reality theory predicts and evidence suggests that inter-religious relationships are motivated to maintain or regulate interpersonal interactions with others. However, this motivation has been given little attention within the automatic attitude literature. This research is centered on the idea that automatic prejudice is moderated by two fundamental themes, shared reality and anxiety. These themes are reviewed to determine the degree to which participants socially tune to ingroup versus outgroup religious experimenters. In Experiment 1, automatic inter-religious attitudes toward Christian and Jewish experimenters were assessed via a subliminal prime procedure. Religious orientation (extrinsic, intrinsic) and regulation of inter-religious relationships were also investigated. Paternal shared reality but not maternal shared reality moderated the effect of experimenter religion on automatic inter-religious attitudes. This finding was also similar among highly devoted Christian participants. In addition to measuring implicit inter-religious prejudice, Experiment 2 measured explicit measures of affect, intergroup anxiety and blood pressure reactivity in addition to implicit prejudice. Christian participants negative affect, systolic blood pressure, and pulse decreased as a result of interacting with Christian and Jewish experimenters. Religious experimenters did not significantly affect Christian and Jewish participants automatic inter-religious attitudes but only components of intergroup anxiety (belief similarity and intergroup interactions) were context dependent. The effects were found not to be moderated by level of devotion or parental shared reality. This research suggests inter-religious relationships among fathers but not mothers affect inter-religious prejudice and these effects are further attributable to anxiety and blood pressure for Christians but not Jews.

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