Katie Corcoran, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, said that people are more likely to make "social exchanges" because of such factors as trust, repeated exchanges, reputation, information about others' experiences, and institutions involved in exchanges.
She said that the 'high-tension' congregations are more exclusive, as opposed to those who said that there is truth in all religions.
Her study included 906 respondents in the General Social Survey and 712 in the Baylor Religion Survey, who answered questions about how much they gave to religious organizations and their religious experiences.
For her research, she applied "social exchange" theory. That theory assumes that when people make decisions, they choose the option that they think will benefit them most - and that that the more confident they are in their exchange partner and the quality of the good, the more likely they are to have further dealings.
Positive online reviews rating goods and services or word-of-mouth recommendations increase certainty and make future social exchanges more likely.
Respondents who gave to religious organizations were more likely to report having had a supernatural experience such as being healed, witnessing the healing of another, hearing God's voice, speaking in tongues, being protected by a guardian angel or having a "born-again" experience.
The study has been published in the journal Rationality and Society.