Simple reminders of God can restrain people from pursuing personal goals

Washington: Simple reminders of God in daily life can limit and influence people’s impetus to pursue personal goals but at the same time provides them with the ability to resist temptation, a new study has suggested.

According to new research, a majority of people across the globe believe that God or a similar spiritual power does exist.

“More than 90 percent of people in the world agree that God or a similar spiritual power exists or may exist,” said the study’s lead author, Kristin Laurin, PhD, of the University of Waterloo in Canada.

“This is the first empirical evidence that simple reminders of God can diminish some types of self-regulation, such as pursuing one’s goals, yet can improve others, such as resisting temptation,” Laurin ststed.

A total of 353 college students, with an average age 19 and 186 of whom were women, participated in six experiments to determine how the idea of God can indirectly influence people’s motivations, even among those who said they were not religious.

Among participants who said outside factors such as God might influence their career success, those who did the God-related word task performed worse than those who used neutral words.

The other set of experiments looked at participants’ ability to resist temptation after being reminded about God.

In one study, participants who said eating healthy food was important to them ate fewer cookies after reading a short passage about God than those who read a passage unrelated to God.

The findings have been published in the online version of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.