"Our intuitions can be phenomenally useful, and analytic thinking isn't some oracle of the truth," says Will Gervais, co-author of a new study demonstrating how analytical thought reduces religious faith. His phrasing is inadvertently hilarious. An oracle is, by definition, intuitive, and is the conduit for divine information. And this study bolsters earlier research showing that intuition and faith are as closely linked as the analytical is to not-faith.
The University of British Columbia study not only affirms that analytical personalities are less likely to be religious, it demonstrates that taxing the left brain decreases belief amongst more intuitive personalities.
People who are intuitive thinkers are more likely to be religious, but getting them to think analytically even in subtle ways decreases the strength of their belief, according to a new study in Science.
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Analytic thinking undermines belief because, as cognitive psychologists have shown, it can override intuition. And we know from past research that religious beliefs—such as the idea that objects and events don't simply exist but have a purpose—are rooted in intuition. "Analytic processing inhibits these intuitions, which in turn discourages religious belief," [Ara] Norenzayan explains.