Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds (#228)

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How to Cite this Report

APA Style

Ryan J. McCarty, Rachel N. Powell, Lawton K. Swan. Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds. (2015, September 17). Retrieved 05:00, November 22, 2017 from http://www.PsychFileDrawer.org/replication.php?attempt=MjI4

MLA Style

"Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds" Ryan J. McCarty, Rachel N. Powell, Lawton K. Swan. 17 Sep 2015 23:24 22 Nov 2017, 05:00 <http://www.PsychFileDrawer.org/replication.php?attempt=MjI4>

MHRA Style

'Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds', Ryan J. McCarty, Rachel N. Powell, Lawton K. Swan, , 17 September 2015 23:24 <http://www.PsychFileDrawer.org/replication.php?attempt=MjI4> [accessed 22 November 2017]

Chicago Style

"Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds", Ryan J. McCarty, Rachel N. Powell, Lawton K. Swan, , http://www.PsychFileDrawer.org/replication.php?attempt=MjI4 (accessed November 22, 2017)

CBE/CSE Style

Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds [Internet]. Ryan J. McCarty, Rachel N. Powell, Lawton K. Swan; 2015 Sep 17, 23:24 [cited 2017 Nov 22]. Available from: http://www.PsychFileDrawer.org/replication.php?attempt=MjI4

Reference to Original Report of Finding Gervais, W. (2014) Good for God? Religious motivation reduces perceived responsibility for and morality of good deeds. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(4), 1616–1626.
Title Perceptions of Religiously-Motivated Good Deeds
If the original article contained multiple experiments, which one did you attempt to replicate? e.g., you might respond 'Study 1' or 'Experiment 4'. Experiment 3
Link to PDF of Original ReportView Article
Brief Statement of Original Result Participants rated a religiously-motivated moral actor as less responsible for and less intentional about his prosocial behavior relative to conditions in which he instead contemplated his secular worldview or nothing in particular.
Type of Replication Attempted Highly Direct Replication
Result Type Successful Replication
Difference? Not Applicable
Number of Subjects 356
Number of Subjects in Original Study 168
Year in which Replication Attempt was Made 2015
Name of Investigators (Real Names Required) Ryan J. McCarty, Rachel N. Powell, Lawton K. Swan
Detailed Description of Method/Results Participants read one of three different vignettes. In all three versions, a protagonist named Brad comes across a homeless man begging for money. Brad then does one of three things (different for each condition) before bringing the man to a café to get some food. In one condition (the control), Brad takes a moment to think before he helps the man. In a second condition (the religious motivation condition), Brad takes a moment to think about his religious beliefs before helping the man. In a third condition (the secular motivation condition), Brad takes a moment to think about his secular worldview before helping the man.

Participants where then asked to answer several questions relating to Brad’s actions. One question asked them to rate the extent were Brad’s actions were either a side effect of some other motivation or an intentional action (on a -3 to 3 scale). Another question asked them to guage, on a 0-10 scale, the degree to which Brad was responsible for his action (0 = not at all, 10 = completely). A third question asked, on a 0-10 scale, to what degree did Brad choose for himself how to act (0 = not at all, 10 = completely).

Finally, participants completed an attention check item (the same attention check utilized by Gervais, 2014; failures were removed prior to analyses), followed by general demographic questions.


For the intent vs side effect item, we coded the responses on a 1 to 7 scale rather than -3 to +3. A one-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference across the three motivation conditions for perceptions of intent, F(2, 352) = 5.62, p = .004. Pairwise comparisons between the three conditions revealed that religious motivation reduced the degree to which individuals viewed the decision to help the homeless man as an intentional action, relative to both the secular condition, t(243) = 2.37, p = .019, d = 0.30, and the control condition, t(220.99) = 3.21, p = .002, d = 0.42. Intentionality did not differ between the control and secular conditions, t(235) = 0.86, p = .392, d = 0.11.

For the two questions assessing perceived responsibility, we averaged participants’ scores for those questions to create a single “responsibility” variable. A one-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference across the three motivation conditions for perceptions of responsibility, F (2, 353) = 6.62, p = .002. Pairwise comparisons between the three conditions revealed that religious motivation reduced the degree to which individuals viewed the protagonist Brad as being responsible for helping the homeless man, relative to both the secular condition, t(191.70) = 3.28, p = .001, d = 0.42, and the control condition, t(215.01) = 2.60, p = .01, d = 0.34. Responsibility did not differ between the control and secular conditions, t(236) = 0.51, p = .611, d = 0.02.

Any Known Methodological Differences
(between original and present study)?
Our methods were identical to the original study procedures (specifically Experiment 3) with the exception of one additional question we included: "To what degree was Brad acting morally?", rated on a 1 to 10 scale (1 = not at all, 10 = completely). 1, 2, and 6, as the main goal of the investigation overall was to assess the effect of religious motivation on perceptions of morality, but this was not included in Experiment 3, in which potential mediators of this effect were explored instead. We found no significant difference in perceptions of morality across the three motivation conditions, F(2,352) = 1.06, p = 0.35.
Email of Investigator
Name of individuals who
actually carried out the project
The first two authors under the supervision of the third.
Location of ProjectN/A (MTurk)
Characteristics of Subjects
(subject pool, paid, etc.)
Adults tested through internet
Participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk
Where did these subjects reside?United States
Was this a Class Project?Yes
Further Details of Results as pdf
Additional Comments
Email of Original Investigator
Quantitive Information
I have complied with ethical standards for experimentation on human beings and, if necessary, have obtained appropriate permission from an Institutional Review Board or other oversight group.
TAG: Attention TAG: JDM TAG: Language TAG: Learning TAG: Memory TAG: Perception TAG: Performance TAG: Problem Solving TAG: Social Cognition TAG: Social Psychology TAG: Thinking

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