Far from bolstering generosity, a religious upbringing diminishes it
Children were asked to play a version of what is known to psychologists as the dictator game—an activity they use to measure altruism. The kids were given a collection of 30 attractive stickers and told that he or she could keep ten of them. Once a child had made his selection, the experimenter told him that there was not time to play the game with all the children at the school, but that he could, if he wished, give away some of his ten stickers to a random schoolmate who would not otherwise be able to take part. The child was then given a few minutes to decide whether he wanted to give up some of his stickers—and, if so, how many. The researchers used the number of stickers surrendered as a measure of altruism.
The results might surprise you.