Costly signals induce more trustworthiness when used in religious settings like pilgrimages

In an experimental study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Radim Chvaja, Martin Lang and colleagues show that religious *costly* signals are more effective in communicating trustworthiness to religious/secular receivers than secular signals.

7 Aug 2023

Figure 1 from Chvaja et al.

Previous research shows that costly religious signals increase trust and cooperation. However, the authors were the first to experimentally test the difference in these effects between religious and costly signals. To do so, they conducted a series of five studies using the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela as a costly display of commitment. They discovered that pilgrims base their pilgrim identity on physical effort and that (long-distance) pilgrims/hikers are perceived as more trustworthy, especially so in a religious context.

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