http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/09/21/cognitive-style-tends-to-predict-religious-conviction/29646.html

Participants who gave intuitive answers to all three problems [that required reflective thinking rather than intuitive] were one and a half times as likely to report they were convinced of God’s existence as those who answered all of the questions correctly.

Importantly, researchers discovered the association between thinking styles and religious beliefs were not tied to the participants’ thinking ability or IQ.

participants who wrote about a successful intuitive experience were more likely to report they were convinced of God’s existence than those who wrote about a successful reflective experience.

I think this is the source but I can't be sure:

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xge-ofp-shenhav.pdf

http://lesswrong.com/lw/7o4/atheism_autism_spectrum/4vbc

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There's some serious spin in this paper. They use the words "intuitive" vs "reflective" to describe answers dozens of times, whereas they use "correct" vs "incorrect" less than a dozen... but reading the actual objective description of the study, it's clear that a subject who intuitively gets the correct answer gets called "reflective" in the results, whereas a subject who reflects on the problem for a while but still gets the trick incorrect answer gets called "intuitive" in the results.

I don't think the distinction between easily tricked and not easily tricked can be best described as if they were two equally valid options of "cognitive style".

In 1982, forty-four per cent of Americans held strictly creationist views, a statistically insignificant difference from 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of Americans that believe in biological evolution has only increased by four percentage points over the last twenty years. Such poll data begs the question: Why are some scientific ideas hard to believe in? What makes the human mind so resistant to certain kinds of facts, even when these facts are buttressed by vast amounts of evidence?

A new study in Cognition, led by Andrew Shtulman at Occidental College, helps explain the stubbornness of our ignorance. As Shtulman notes, people are not blank slates, eager to assimilate the latest experiments into their world view. Rather, we come equipped with all sorts of naïve intuitions about the world, many of which are untrue. For instance, people naturally believe that heat is a kind of substance, and that the sun revolves around the earth. And then there’s the irony of evolution: our views about our own development don’t seem to be evolving.

This means that science education is not simply a matter of learning new theories. Rather, it also requires that students unlearn their instincts, shedding false beliefs the way a snake sheds its old skin.

To document the tension between new scientific concepts and our pre-scientific hunches, Shtulman invented a simple test. He asked a hundred and fifty college undergraduates who had taken multiple college-level science and math classes to read several hundred scientific statements. The students were asked to assess the truth of these statements as quickly as possible.

To make things interesting, Shtulman gave the students statements that were both intuitively and factually true—“The moon revolves around the Earth”—and statements whose scientific truth contradicts our intuitions (“The Earth revolves around the sun.”) As expected, it took students much longer to assess the veracity of true scientific statements that cut against our instincts. In every scientific category, from evolution to astronomy to thermodynamics, students paused before agreeing that the earth revolves around the sun, or that pressure produces heat, or that air is composed of matter. Although we know these things are true, we have to push back against our instincts, which leads to a measurable delay.

--"Why We Don’t Believe In Science", Lehrer, New Yorker

[-][anonymous]10y 0

What makes the human mind so resistant to certain kinds of facts, even when these facts are buttressed by vast amounts of evidence?

So the beliefs of people in one country allow generalizations about “the human mind”.

You know, there aren't anywhere near that many anti-evolutionists outside the United States. (Unless you count people in the Third World who haven't heard of evolution in the first place.)

A quick check in Google for "worldwide creationism" suggests your faith is misguided.

Importantly, researchers discovered the association between thinking styles and religious beliefs were not tied to the participants’ thinking ability or IQ.

I thought there is a negative correlation between Religiosity and IQ?

There can still be. It's possible for there to be a correlation between thinking style and religiosity and a different correlation between IQ and religiosity, even if thinking style and IQ are uncorrelated.

Looks like this study was trying to focus on the former while filtering out the latter.

Ha, you're right. I had to convince myself with a concrete example because it's so counter-intuitive ( at least for me) .

Presumably the study showed that the analytic thinking effect was independent of the IQ effect; i.e. holding the level of IQ constant, one still sees the connection between analytic versus intuitive thinking and religiosity, versus a correlation between IQ and analytic thinking causing the entire effect to be the same. (I haven't read the study this is just what I interpreted that quote to mean)

participants who wrote about a successful intuitive experience were more likely to report they were convinced of God’s existence than those who wrote about a successful reflective experience.

That's the coolest part to me. I mean, we all think that the more analytic tend to atheism (see the autism thing), but to show you can make people more atheistic just by asking them to remember an analytic experience...? That is neat.

Do you know why your comment is in one line with a horizontal scrolling bar?

As a side note, can everyone see that, or is it just me? (I'm using Chrome)

It's normal for me (Firefox on Mac)

It's wrapped like normal for me (Chrome on Linux).

[-][anonymous]11y 2

A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

I really don't know how people can correctly answer this on the fly! I have to solve {bat + ball = 1.10, bat = 1 + ball} to get the correct answer.

The way I started thinking about the problem is, you've got $1.10 to spend in total. $1 is spent on the difference between the bat and the ball. That leaves $.1 which is split evenly between the bat and the ball.

So what I end up doing is, as Tordmor says below:

1.10 - 1 = .10

.10 / 2 = .05

This is essentially the explanation given by wedrifid but I wrote it before reading his and tried to format it more consistently with your comment below.

[-][anonymous]11y 0

That leaves $.1 which is split evenly between the bat and the ball

Why is it split evenly? (I'm just wondering what your thought process is)

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I'm a bit weird with these sorts of arithmetic questions, my thought process went something like this: "Ok, 10 cents seems close, but that puts the bat at 90 cents more than the ball.. oh it seems like 5 cents and 1.05 works." The answer just sort of pops into my head, not even thinking about the division step. Of course, I could do the simple maneuvering to get the answer, but it isn't what I naturally do. I think this has to do with how I did math in grade school: I would never learn the formulas (and on top of this I would often forget my calculator) so I would rather come up with some roundabout method for approximating various calculations (like getting the root of a number by guessing numbers that "seemed close" to the root, usually starting at 1/2 the number and adjusting). Probably not really the best way to do things since there are much cleaner solutions, but this bad habit of arithmetic has sort of stuck with me through my mathematics degree (though I of course have picked up the relevant formulas by now!); instead of using the straightforward formula, I do this mental jiggling around of values and it pops into my head.

I don't know, maybe that isn't weird at all, but in any event no one has mentioned doing it yet.

A friend tried this on three of us earlier tonight (having read the same report). One out of three (all agnostics) got it right on the fly.

[+][anonymous]11y -6

Related to the pareidolia point: Paranormal and Religious Believers Are More Prone to Illusory Face Perception than Skeptics and Non-believers, Riekki et al 2012

Illusory face perception, a tendency to find human-like faces where none are actually present in, for example, artifacts or scenery, is a common phenomenon that occasionally enters the public eye. We used two tests (N = 47) to analyze the relationship between paranormal and religious beliefs and illusory face perception. In a detection task, the participants detected face-like features from pictures of scenery and landscapes with and without face-like areas and, in a rating task, evaluated the face-likeness and emotionality of these areas. Believer groups were better at identifying the previously defined face-like regions in the images but were also prone to false alarms. Signal detection analysis revealed that believers had more liberal answering criteria than skeptics, but the actual detection sensitivity did not differ. The paranormal believers also evaluated the artifact faces as more face-like and emotional than the skeptics, and a similar trend was found between religious and non-religious people.

Ironically, Razib Khan criticizes it for finding too small an effect size: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/10/which-results-from-cognitive-psychology-are-robust-real/ (LW post; I disagree that we should expect a large effect size, see comments on Khan.)

Relevant is Luhrmann's 2012 When God Talks Back. I've made excerpts of what I thought were the most relevant parts for this topic: preface / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

[-][anonymous]11y 0

For example, one question stated: “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

The automatic or intuitive answer is 10 cents, but the correct answer is 5 cents

How is 5 correct?

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