Tag Archives: religion

Influence of religion on altruism

Interesting blog post at “Experimental Turk, A blog on social science experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk” by Gabriele Paolacci.

David Rand posted on Crowdflower about a great Amazon Mechanical Turk study he recently conducted along with John Horton on altruism (as measured by cooperative behavior on a Prisoner’s Dilemma), that also used religious priming. The authors found that (rearranged from the original post):

1. A majority of Turkers cooperate in a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Thus even in the entirely anonymous and profit-motivated online labor market of AMT, many people still choose to help each other.

2. Reading a religious passage about the important of charity makes religious Turkers more altruistic, but has no effect on Turkers who do not believe in god. This shows that Turkers respond in basically the same way as “normal” lab subjects, and is fairly intuitive. Those who believe in god are receptive to calls for generosity phrased in religious language, while non-believers aren’t.

Religions symbols in Unicode characters

I was testing a chat system we’re creating with Extjs (amazin Javascript framework!) and I wanted to test issues with “strange” characters. So I quickly found the page of special characters on Italian wikipedia and I was very surprised to see that there are religious (and political) symbols in Unicode standard characters. What you see in the following are normal chars you can copy and paste, just as a normal “a”. I think the classification under “religious As bru was saying in chat: “wow, lots of crosses” … ;)

☥ ☥ ☦ ☦ ☧ ☧ ☨ ☨ ☩ ☩ ☪ ☪ ☫ ☫ ☬ ☬ ☭ ☭ ☮ ☮ ☯ ☯ ♰ â™° ♱ â™± ✝ ✝ ✞ ✞ ✟ ✟

A search on Google for “☭” did not return any result. A search for the swastica symbol instead returns results and actually it was once one of the hot terms in Google Trends. I wonder what Unicode characters does Google include and exclude.

By the way, what is the strangest Unicode character you are able to find (for some definition of “strange”)?