The impact of analytic thinking on religionWhile most people tend to think that their analytical thinking has little to no impact on how they perceive the world, the truth is that the impact can’t be assumed as it is still noticeable. This is according to the findings of a study undertaken by Will Gervais, a lead author and a psychology student at University of British Columbia, Canada. According to the researcher, there was no any participant who entered in a devout believer and left as a committed atheist. Rather, analytic thinking produced reliable but subtle impacts on disbelief.

Understanding how people make decisions about religion

The main objective of the study was to gain some insights on exactly how people made choices and decisions about religion. According to Gervais, any comprehensive understanding about religion mist accommodates the millions if not billions of non believers all over the world. The only way one can follow the right approach in understanding religion is to determine factors, which promote not just belief but also non belief as well. During one of their main experiments, the research team conducted tests on some 179 undergraduate students in Canada, which were all designed to help them detect exactly how religious and analytical they were.

Analytic thing can enhance religious disbelief

The experiment measured their analytical skills by asking the participants questions which required them to think hard as answers to the questions were not obvious ones. In one of the questions, for example, ‘a ball and a bat had a total cost of $1.10 of the cost of the bat is $1 more to that of the ball, what is the cost of the ball?’ The right answer to this question is not 10 cents but 5 cents. Through such questions, the researchers were able to determine the analytical ability of every participant and based on how their override the intuition, it was clear that most of them were non believers.

The next study undertaken aimed at figuring out if it was possible to affect responses to religion questions if the participants were primed to be analytical. To ascertain this, series of experiments were launched to reveal the extent to which people could be coaxed to be analytical. Some of the participants were for example forced to think about certain worlds, consider either depiction artwork or neutral artwork of ‘The Thinker’, Rodins, after which questions about their religious belief were asked.

One of the possible responses regarding their religious belief was that most people only talk to themselves while praying. Gervais also said that triggering analytical thinking subtly promotes religious disbelief. These experiments didn’t give any statistics that were friendly to the lay person when it came to analytical influence. The researchers noted that their analysis had failed to yield punchy, nice numbers. However, the big picture of the study supported the fact that the reason why religious beliefs persists is that most people find them to be more intuitive.