Paper #1: Karma or Immortality: Can Religion Influence Space-Time Mappings? by Heng Li

This article caught my eyes with its unique approach to study how religions impact on our perception in general. The concepts, initiatives, and research methods implemented are rather comprehensible and comparatively straight-forward.

See abstract:

People implicitly associate the “past” and “future” with “front” and “back in their minds according to their cultural attitudes toward time. As the temporal focus hypothesis (TFH) proposes, future-oriented people tend to think about time according to the future-in-front mapping, whereas past-oriented people tend to think about time according to the past-in-front mapping (de la Fuente, Santiago, Roman, Dumitrache, & Casasanto , 2014). Whereas previous studies have demonstrated that culture exerts an important influence on people’s implicit spatializations of time, we focus specifically on religion, a prominent layer of culture, as potential additional influence on space-time mappings. In Experiment 1 and 2, we observed a difference betweethe two religious groups, with Buddhists being more past-focused and more frequently conceptualizing the past as ahead of them and the future as behind them, and Taoists more future-focused and exhibiting the opposite space-time mapping. In Experiment 3, we administered religion prime, in which Buddhists were randomly assigned to visualize the picture of the Buddhas of the Past (Buddha Dipamkara) or the Future (Buddha Maitreya). Results showed that the pictorial icon of Dipamkara increased participants’ tendency to conceptualize the past as in front of them. In contrast, the pictorial icon of Maitreya caused a dramatic increase in the rate of future-in-front responses. In Experiment 4, the causal effect of religion on implicit space-time mappings was replicated in atheists. Taken together, these findings provide converging evidence for the hypothesized causal role of religion for temporal focus in determining space-time mappings.
Get Full Access of the article here if you find it interesting.

Follow up:

Here is a scan version of the poster on this paper exhibits on Westtown School Science Fair. 000.JPG

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