Journal Article


How is analytical thinking related to religious belief? A test of three theoretical models

Abstract

The replicability and importance of the correlation between cognitive style and religious belief has been debated. Moreover, the literature has not examined distinct psychological accounts of this relationship. We tested the replicability of the correlation (N = 5284; students and broader samples of Canadians, Americans and Indians); while testing three accounts of how cognitive style comes to be related to belief in God, karma, witchcraft, and to the belief that religion is necessary for morality. The first, the dual process model, posits that analytical thinking is recruited in overriding intuitions related to supernatural beliefs. The second, the expressive rationality model, posits that analytical thinking is recruited in supporting already-held beliefs in an identity protective manner. And the third, the counter-normativity rationality model, posits that analytical thinking is recruited to question beliefs supported by prevailing cultural norms. In Study 2, we tested the replicability of our results in a re-analysis of published data. The association between analytic thinking style and beliefs was replicated. We conclude that whereas the counter normativity rationality model was contradicted by the data, both the dual process and expressive rationality models received varying degrees of empirical support, but neither model fully accounted for all the patterns in the data.

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Authors

Baimel, Adam
White, Cindel J.M.
Sarkissian, Hagop
Norenzayan, Ara

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

Dates

Year of publication: 2021
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-01-15


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of How is analytical thinking related to religious belief? A test of three theoretical models
This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of [PsyArXiv preprint] How is analytical thinking related to religious belief? A test of three theoretical models

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