Lecture 10 PSY220
A Few Interesting Questions
1. Why do we kill in the name of religion?
Ian McGregor (professor of social psych from york)
Previous Research on Zeal
• Zeal: Tenacious conviction and intolerance of dissent for an idealistic cause
• Zeal erupts during periods of cultural or personal turbulence.
• Personal uncertainty ▯extreme & rigid thinking.
• Uncertainty is the most basic cause of anxiety
• Tenacious conviction and intolerance of dissent for one’s religious beliefs
• Uncertainty is the most basic cause of anxiety in humans.
• When people feel uncertain, religious zeal will increase. When people feel
uncertain, this an arouse their belief in god and afterlife
• Study 1: Feelings of personal uncertainty cause increases in zeal about
people’s own religious beliefs.
• Study 2: Feelings of personal uncertainty will cause people to derogate other
people’s religious beliefs.
• 20 undergraduate psychology students
• Randomly assigned to two conditions. Manipulation was designed to make people
Uncertainty: read extremely difficult and ambiguous passage from a statistics
Control: read simple passage from statistics textbook
• Answered filler questions Religious Zeal Measure (asked participants to agree or disagree with the following
• I am confident in my belief system.
• I aspire to live and act according to my belief system.
• My belief system is grounded in objective truth.
• Most people would agree with my belief system if they took the time to
understand it rather than relying on stereotype about it.
• If my belief system were publicly criticized I would argue to defend it.
• I would support a war that defended my belief system.
• I would sacrifice my life to defend my belief system.
• In my heart, I believe my belief system is more correct than others.
A bar graph
In the uncertainty groups, the participants were
Support War to Defend Religious Beliefs
A bar graph
In the uncertainty conditions, the participants were morel likely to support war
• 53 nonMuslim psychology students. Wanted to see to what extent non muslims
would derogate islam.
• Randomly assigned to two conditions:
Uncertainty: Described currently unresolved relationship dilemma of their
Control: Described currently unresolved relationship od a friend
• Answered filler questions
Evaluation of Islam
• Most people who practice Islam value peace.
• Equality is an important concept in Islam.
• Islam promotes essentially the same good values as other world religions.
• The Qur’an and Bible contain similar stories.
• Islam promotes religious intolerance. • Islam would be an okay religion if it did not such oppressive rules.
• There is something in Islam that invites terrorism.
• Canada should have more stringer immigration regulations for people who
practice Islam are religious zealots.
• Islam is a cult on a large scale.
A bar graph
Islam evaluation were more negative for uncertain group than the control group
• Results may help to explain why religious conflicts can be so difficult to resolve.
• Religious zeal can be a motivated defense that people seize to quell feelings of
• Most people would not want to admit that the fervency of their religious ideals
might be a psychological defense.
2. Is Facebook ruining our relationships?
Amy Muise (professor at UTM)
• 84% of Canadians ages 1834 have a social networking site
• Of those, 90% use FB (check at least once a day)
• Changed the way we communicate about relationships and our access to
• Information seeking: “creeping”
• Study 1: The more people spend time using Facebook, the more jealousy they will
• Study 2: Exposure to jealousy triggers on Facebook will lead to more information
Study 1 • 343 undergraduate Facebook users
• On average, 385 FB friends; 45 minutes per day!
• Majority were currently involved in dating relationships
• Created a new measure of jealousy on Facebook
Facebook Jealousy Measure
• How likely are you to become jealous after your partner has added an unknown
member of the opposite sex?
• How likely are you to monitor your partner’s activites on Facebook?
Study 1 Results
• Women spent significantly more time on Facebook than men
• Time spent on Facebook predicted increased jealousy, even controlling for other
personal and relationship factors.
• But only for women, not men
Study 1 Results
A bar graph
Women experienced more jealousy the more time they spent on Facebook. But this was
not true for men
• 160 psychology undergraduate students
• Used simulated environment to expose participants to a picture of their “partner”
• Partner was pictured with either: (a) a cousin, (b) friend, or (c) unknown
• Measured jealousy and time spent searching
3 Slides of Facebook pictures
The participants were shown a picture of their partner with either their cousin, mutual
friend, or no information.
Study 2 Results • Participants were most jealous and spent the most time creeping when person was
unknown or mutual friend as opposed to a cousin.
• For women, the more jealousy they felt, the more time they spent creeping.
• No link for men
“I would never look at the FB page…I would just rather not know.” (man)
“I’m sure if I looked at it every day, I would feel kind of jealous and bummed out. So I
never look at hers and she tells me she always looks at mine, and she asked me questions
abut being in pictures with girls or whatever. But I’ll never look at her Facebook.” (man)
“It’s just really easy access, like, if you have a question and you don’t trust the person,
you can just go on Facebook and find it. It’s just a really easy investigative tool. You
don’t really need blind trust anymore, you can just go on Facebook and keep tabs on
• Facebook (social networking sites) give us new opportunities
• But it also creates new challenges
• We need to learn more about how we can maximize the potential rewards while
also dealing with new challenges
3. Are intelligence tests biased against negatively stereotyped students?