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“And Who Is My Neighbor?” II: Quest Religion as a Source of Universal Compassion

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Are those with a high-quest orientation to religion less likely to help a person if that person's behavior violates their values of open-mindedness and tolerance? If so, is it because they have antipathy toward the person or toward the behavior? To answer these questions, sixty undergraduate women were given the opportunity to help either of two same-sex peers win a monetary prize. About one peer, they knew nothing; from the other, they had received two self-disclosing notes. The first note either did or did not reveal that the discloser was intolerant of gays; the second revealed that the discloser wanted the money for an activity that either would or would not promote intolerance of gays. Participants scoring high on measures of quest religion helped the intolerant discloser less than the discloser who was not intolerant when their help would promote intolerance; they did not help the intolerant discloser less when their help would not promote intolerance. These results suggest that a high-quest orientation is associated with antipathy toward the value-violating behavior (intolerance), not toward the value-violating person. The scope of the associated compassion seems relatively broad.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Professor of Psychology at the University of Kansas

Publication date: March 1, 2001


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