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Suicide commonly deemed immoral as it 'taints the soul'

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People deem suicide as immoral as they believe that it taints the purity of a person's soul, it has been revealed.

According to a study by researchers at Boston College and Boston University, people across religious and political lines are more likely to morally condemn suicide if they believed it tainted the victims' souls and if they demonstrated greater concerns about moral purity.

Study's lead author Joshua Rottman, a doctoral student working with Deborah Kelemen, associate professor of psychology at Boston University, and Liane Young, assistant professor of psychology at Boston College found that people's tendencies to feel disgusted by the suicide obituaries, and to feel more disgust in general, also played a significant role.

The study has shown that even if people explicitly deny the existence of religious phenomena, natural tendencies to at least implicitly believe in souls can underlie intuitive moral judgments.

The findings are reported in Issue 130 of the journal Cognition.

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