Why are some people more religious than others? Answers to this question often focus on the role of culture or upbringing. While these influences are important, new research suggests that whether we believe may also have to do with how much we rely on intuition versus analytical thinking. In 2011 Amitai Shenhav, David Rand and Joshua Greene of Harvard University published apaper showing that people who have a tendency to rely on their intuition are more likely to believe in God. They also showed that encouraging people to think intuitively increased people’s belief in God. Building on these findings, in a recent paper published inScience, Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia found that encouraging people to think analytically reduced their tendency to believe in God. Together these findings suggest that belief may at least partly stem from our thinking styles.
Go To Article