Thinking, Religion Don't Mix: Study

Analytical thought tends to drown out faith, researcher finds
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2012 9:09 AM CDT
Thinking, Religion Don't Mix: Study
Religion and analytical thinking are uneasy bedfellows.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – People prone to analytical thinking are less prone to religious faith, a new study has concluded. Scientists have long believed that analytical thinking can override one's intuitive responses, and studies have shown that religion is rooted in intuitive thought. So Canadian researcher Will Gervais set out to see if analytical thought could override religion, the LA Times reports. First he gave a group of students a test whose questions were designed to have an intuitive-but-wrong answer and a correct one requiring more thought to arrive at.

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(Example: "A bat and a ball cost $1.10 total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much is the ball?" If you said 10 cents, try again.) Students were then surveyed on their religious beliefs, and those who had aced the test scored their faith lower than those who'd failed. Other experiments sought to trigger analytical thinking—either by showing subjects specific words, or forcing them to read small text—to see if that would actually reduce belief; in each case, it appeared to. (Read more religion stories.)

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