Analytic Thinking, Religion, and Prejudice

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The relation between and the intersection of religion and analytic thinking are complex and intransigently debated topic in the both social psychology and cognitive science literature for a decade. Moreover, the idea that religions facilitate acts that cause the negative attitudes toward especially religious out-groups has relatively a long theoretical and empirical history in social psychology (Allport & Ross, 1967; Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 1992; Spilka, 1986; Whitley & Bernard,1999) and is the main idea behind the evolutionary origins of religion (Atran & Heinrich, 2010; Bering, 2011; Norenzayan & Shariff, 2008; Preston & Ritter, 2013; Rand et al., 2014; Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007; Sosis & Alcorta, 2003) which is…show more content…
In all experiments, those who primed with analytic thinking expressed less belief in a personal God: an average of about 41 on a 100-point scale for experimental group as compared to an average of 61 for control group. Although this finding is robust in different demographic variations, little is known about its applicability to different religions which have “Big Gods”. (The term “Big Gods” refer to “omnipresent and omniscient moralizing agent” (Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007) and this is unique to the three big religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam). Moreover, although they noted that the manipulations did merely a dip in religious beliefs of participants instead of an extreme change, it is unclear whether analytic thinking can decrease religious beliefs of highly religious people. Nevertheless, between-subject design had no possibility to do that; therefore, a within-subject replication of this effect is necessary to show its robustness.
Religion and Prejudice Cooperation requires acting and working together for the mutual benefits of the members of the in-group; that is, cooperative intentions toward in-group members. Accordingly, it is generally thought that religiosity evolved with the object of constructing large-scale societies where the anonymous interaction among genetically unrelated members of society is crucial (Norenzayan &
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