Does religious cognition really down-regulate hand grip endurance in men? A failure to replicate

Liana S.E. Hone, Michael E. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We sought to perform an exact replication of a previously published experiment that indicated that religious cognition (manipulated via an implicit religious prime) reduced hand-grip endurance in men but not in women. We randomly assigned 168 female and 159 male undergraduate students to either a task in which they completed scrambled sentences interspersed with words that had religious meanings or a comparable task with words that had no consistent meaning. We did not find an interaction between condition and sex: Men who received the religious prime did not perform any worse on the hand-grip endurance task than did their peers who completed the control task. We did, however, find a sex difference in hand-grip endurance (favoring men), but this sex difference was not found in the original experiment. We explored potential explanations for this failure to replicate, including the possibility that different experimenters (who were ignorant of participants' condition assignments) produced different results by affecting participants' motivation in different ways. These latter analyses revealed that some experimenters produced larger sex differences than others did.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-85
Number of pages5
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Hand grip endurance
  • Religious prime
  • Replication
  • Reproductive Religiosity Model
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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