Intuitive thinking may explain greater faith in god

September 21st, 2011 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) Intuition may explain why some people seem to place a greater faith on god than others.

Intuitive thinking is about going with one’s first instinct and reaching decisions quickly based on automatic mental processes.

Such people also tend to have stronger belief in god than those with a more reflective style, says a new research.

Reflective thinking involves the questioning of first instinct and consideration of other possibilities, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General reports.

“We wanted to explain variations in belief in god in terms of more basic cognitive processes,” said Amitai Shenhav, post-doctoral student in psychology at Harvard University who conducted the study with colleagues David Rand and Joshua Green.

“Some say we believe in god because our intuitions about how and why things happen lead us to see a divine purpose behind ordinary events that don’t have obvious human causes,” added Shenhav, according to a Harvard statement.

In a study, 882 adults, average age 33 years, comprising 64 percent women, completed online surveys about their belief in god before taking a cognitive reflection test.

Participants who gave intuitive answers were likely to report they were convinced of god’s existence. Individuals with a reflective style tended to become less confident in their belief in god.

“Intuitions are important and reflection is important, and you want some balance of the two. Where you are on that spectrum affects how you come out in terms of belief in god,” Rand said.

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