Religion harms kids cognitive ability, study shows.

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I Think
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Religion harms kids cognitive ability, study shows.

Post by I Think »

Young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction, according to a new study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science.

Researchers presented 5- and 6-year-old children from both public and parochial schools with three different types of stories -- religious, fantastical and realistic –- in an effort to gauge how well they could identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional.

The study found that, of the 66 participants, children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.

By relating seemingly impossible religious events achieved through divine intervention (e.g., Jesus transforming water into wine) to fictional narratives, religious children would more heavily rely on religion to justify their false categorizations.

“In both studies, [children exposed to religion] were less likely to judge the characters in the fantastical stories as pretend, and in line with this equivocation, they made more appeals to reality and fewer appeals to impossibility than did secular children,” the study concluded.

Refuting previous hypotheses claiming that children are “born believers,” the authors suggest that “religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.”
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Generalissimo Postalot
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Re: Religion harms kids cognitive ability, study shows.

Post by JonyDarko »

66 test subjects is a rather small study is it not? I honestly don't know and am actually asking.

With that said I cant say I am surprised...
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Re: Religion harms kids cognitive ability, study shows.

Post by Glacier »

If you teach your children that Santa is real, then it is quite likely your child will be more likely to attribute the money under their pillow to the tooth fairy than the kid that is not taught to believe in Santa. Is this bad or harmful? I don't know, but it is what it is. If you are taught that X is true, then you are more likely to believe that something happened because of X. In this case, X is the supernatural. If you don't believe in the supernatural, you're going to be less likely to attribute things to the supernatural.

This is irrespective of whether or not X is actually true or whether or not X caused Y. I was taught to believe that alternative medicines can heal you. Therefore, I'm going to be more likely to believe that my miraculous cancer recession was the result of the marijuana I smoked or the aspirin I took than the guy was taught that only pills prescribed from Big Pharma can heal your body of cancer.
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