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Abstract: Fear of supernatural punishment may serve as a deterrent to counternormative behavior, even in anonymous situations free from human social monitoring. The authors conducted two studies to test this hypothesis, examining the relationship between cheating behavior in an anonymous setting and views of God as loving and compassionate, or as an angry and punishing agent. Overall levels of religious devotion or belief in God did not directly predict cheating. However, viewing God as a more punishing, less loving figure was reliably associated with lower levels of cheating. This relationship remained after controlling for relevant personality dimensions, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and gender.
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