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Fuqua School of Business
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Publications [#273269] of Aaron C. Kay

Journal Articles

  1. Laurin, K; Kay, AC; Moscovitch, DA, On the belief in God: Towards an understanding of the emotional substrates of compensatory control, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 44 no. 6 (November, 2008), pp. 1559-1562, Elsevier BV, ISSN 0022-1031 [doi]
    (last updated on 2023/09/24)

    We suggest that beliefs in a controlling God originate, at least in part, from the desire to avoid the emotionally uncomfortable experience of perceiving the world as random and chaotic. Forty-seven participants engaged in an anxiety-provoking visualization procedure. For half, the procedure included a manipulation designed to temporarily lower beliefs in personal control. As predicted, it was only among those participants whose sense of personal control was threatened-i.e., participants in need of an alternate means for protecting their belief in a non-random world-that subjective anxiety led to increased subsequent beliefs in the existence of a controlling God. Wide-ranging implications are discussed. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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