Does Thinking About God Increase Our Willingness to Make Risky Decisions?
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Daniella Kupor and her colleagues at Stanford University have recently published the paper Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking (1), which takes a new look at the link between invoking the name of God and risky behaviors. The researchers hypothesized that reminders of God may have opposite effects on varying types of risk-taking behavior. For example, risk-taking behavior that is deemed “immoral,” such as taking sexual risks or cheating, may be suppressed by invoking God, whereas taking non-moral risks, such as making risky investments or sky-diving, might be increased because reminders of God provide a sense of security. According to Kupor and colleagues, it is important to classify the type of risky behavior in relation to how society perceives God's approval or disapproval of the behavior. The researchers conducted a variety of experiments to test this hypothesis using online study participants.