I referred recently to the Solomon, Greenberg & Pyszczynski research summarized by Judis. The interpretation of the research findings concerned was highly speculative and unparsimonious in that the effect of priming people to think about death was somehow magnified into telling us something about “worldview defense”. The point of the theoretical extravaganza was of course to portray conservatives in a bad light. I suggested a more straightforward interpretation of the findings which was rather supportive of a conservative view of the world.

In the end, however, I concluded that the research concerned really told us nothing at all about anything because it was not based on any kind of representative sampling. Solomon, Greenberg & Pyszczynski obviously disagree with me on that, however, so I have found another study based on their kind of “sampling” that should interest them. A study by Shariff & Norenzayan also looked at the effect of “priming” people’s perceptions. Where the Solomon, Greenberg & Pyszczynski research showed that priming people to think about death caused them to become more conservative, however, the Shariff et al. research showed that priming people to think about God caused them to become more altruistic and kinder towards others! It tends to show that Christians are nicer people, in other words. I wonder what Pyszczynski and friends think about that? One thing they CANNOT consistently do is dismiss the finding on the grounds of unrepresentative sampling!

Update:

I originally gave the wrong link for the “God” study above. Now corrected.

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

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