Does poor understanding of physical world predict religious and paranormal beliefs?

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    Although supernatural beliefs often paint a peculiar picture about the physical world, the possibility that the beliefs might be based on inadequate understanding of the non-social world has not received research attention. In this study (N= 258), we therefore examined how physical-world skills and knowledge predict religious and paranormal beliefs. The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena. Regression analyses indicated that the strongest predictors of the beliefs were overall physical capability (a factor representing most physical skills, interests, and knowledge) and intuitive thinking style. Copyright (C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)736-742
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • 515 Psychology
    • conspiracy theories
    • sex-differ
    • AUTISM
    • BRAIN
    • ADULTS
    • STYLE

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