Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Will Gervais

Abstract

In the wake of the death of a prominent atheist figure in 2011, an especially unsavory side of anti-atheist prejudice became evident as many celebrated the death of a prominent atheist, rejoicing that he would be in hell. The current study explores how these attitudes reveal a sense of schadenfreude in anti-atheist prejudice previously unexplored in the literature. Potential origins of this schadenfreude are discussed, and a study to experimentally explore this phenomenon was carried out. Using the repeated taste-test paradigm, this study gave participants atheist primes and hell primes between identical drinks and measure perceived taste after these manipulations, intending for the hell primes to induce schadenfreude after atheist primes as a result from participants thinking about the atheists going to hell for their lack of faith. All predicted main effects and interactions were non-significant. Exploratory analyses were carried out to explain these null results. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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