Social versus individual motivation: Implications for normative definitions of religious orientation

Adam B. Cohen, Daniel E. Hall, Harold G. Koenig, Keith G. Meador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

The traditional interpretation of "intrinsic" religiousness has fostered an unchallenged assumption that normative and substantive religious motivation is inherently individual and personal. Social motives for religiousness and structured practices have been characterized as "extrinsic" and as lacking informative significance. We argue that this view is most applicable in American Protestant religions, and hence existing religious motivation scales reflect a distinctly American Protestant view. We then show that social motives and structured ritual practices are, in fact, as normative as individual motivations in several religious traditions. In particular, we describe the social practices and motives normative for Judaism and certain streams of Christianity. We then discuss the potential relevance of this analysis to emotion, collective identity, and moral judgment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 14 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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