Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Religious beliefs are not linked to intuition or rational thinking, according to new research by the universities of Coventry and Oxford.
Previous studies have suggested people who hold strong religious beliefs are more intuitive and less analytical, and when they think more analytically their religious beliefs decrease.
But new research, by academics from Coventry University's Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science and neuroscientists and philosophers at Oxford University, suggests that is not the case, and that people are not 'born believers'.
The study -- which included tests on pilgrims taking part in the famous Camino de Santiago and a brain stimulation experiment -- found no link between intuitive/analytical thinking, or cognitive inhibition (an ability to suppress unwanted thoughts and actions), and supernatural beliefs.
Instead, the academics conclude that other factors, such as upbringing and socio-cultural processes, are more likely to play a greater role in religious beliefs.
The study -- published in Scientific Reports -- was the first to challenge a growing trend among cognitive psychologists over the past 20 years that has attempted to show that believing in the supernatural is something that comes to us 'naturally' or intuitively.
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