RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY From children to theologians, religious believers vary widely in the complexity of their beliefs (Hunsberger, Alisat, Pancer, & Pratt, 1996). This project addresses how more or less complex religious/God beliefs affect individuals’ attitudes and behavior. We hypothesize that the ways in which people think about religion/God are tightly related with the ways that people interact with the world around them, and in particular, people’s moral attitudes and behaviors. We propose to address this hypothesis by applying the constructs of self-complexity and integrative complexity to the study of religious individuals’ religious/God beliefs (e.g. Hunsberger, Pratt & Pancer, 1994). EMPIRICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM Using both correlational investigation and experimental manipulation, we will measure the effects that the complexity of people’s religious/God beliefs have on helping behavior and outgroup prejudice. We propose four series of studies, which will examine 1) similarities and differences between measures of complexity, as well as individual and group differences, 2) the effects of priming religious/God-complexity, 3) the effects of perceiving more simple or more complex religious target individuals, and 4) which situational variables affect religious/God-complexity. OUTPUTS 1) Empirical research comprising of 4 study series 2) At least 4 articles in high-impact journals to disseminate research 3) Conference presentations to disseminate research OUTCOMES AND ENDURING IMPACTS 1) Increased knowledge of religious/God-complexity and its effects on attitudes and behavior within the academic community of scholars who study psychology of religion 2) Increased profile of the study of religious/God-complexity within the wider psychological community 3) New hypotheses and research projects generated to further study religious/God-complexity 4) Increased knowledge of religious/God-complexity outside of academic circles
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