Religious attributions in cross-cultural comparison

Andreas Schneider, Herman W. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In our comparative perspective we use six nation cultures to test if supernatural attributions differentiate religious and secular authority. Using semantic dimensions derived from Osgood, we empirically match the affective meaning of identities to the Christian concept of God with secular alter identities. The same mechanism is used to identify behaviors, emotions, and traits that are attributed to God and his alter identity. Using the symbolic-integrationist perspective of Affect Control Theory, we extend this analysis by setting identities, behaviors, and emotions into the context of an event. We find that the concept of God represents religious authority that in secular societies is perfectly replaced by other authority concepts in legal, political, professional, medical, or family institutions. While data of the US, Canada, and Ireland establish a cluster of religious attributions to authority, Germany, Japan, and China cluster on the secular side.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Research in Social Psychology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2011


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