The Sex Premium in Religiously Motivated Moral Judgment

Liana S.E. Hone, Thomas G. McCauley, Eric J. Pedersen, Evan C. Carter, Michael E. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent theorizing suggests that religious people's moral convictions are quite strategic (albeit unconsciously so), designed to make their worlds more amenable to their favored approaches to solving life's basic challenges. In a meta-analysis of 5 experiments and a preregistered replication, we find that religious identity places a sex premium on moral judgments, causing people to judge violations of conventional sexual morality as particularly objectionable. The sex premium is especially strong among highly religious people, and applies to both legal and illegal acts. Religion's influence on moral reasoning emphasizes conventional sexual norms, and may reflect the strategic projects to which religion has been applied throughout history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Morality
  • Religiosity
  • Sexual morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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