Researchers Have Once Again Found A Negative Correlation Between Religion And IQ
New research has confirmed prior studies showing that a negative relationship exists between religiosity and intelligence, according to PsyPost.
The study’s findings, published in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, build on a previous meta-analysis that found the same phenomenon: “religious people tend to be less intelligent than non-religious people on average.”
“Religiosity is a pervasive phenomenon. Its influence can be felt in all spheres of life. However, a sizeable portion of the population defines itself as atheist. Why do some people decide not to be religious? I thought it was an important and fascinating question,” said Miron Zuckerman of the University of Rochester, the study’s author.
But Zuckerman’s previous research, which involved analyzing 63 other studies, proved controversial. “Comments in the media ranged from expressions of surprise and curiosity to skepticism or even disdain about what intelligence tests actually measure,”he said in the new report.
The response led Zuckerman and his colleagues to conduct a second meta-analysis with updated data, PsyPost reported, “ which included data from 61 studies from the previous meta-analysis and new data from 22 studies conducted from 2012 to 2018.”
The results were the same, and the researchers also found “no evidence that the negative relationship between religiosity and intelligence was growing weaker in recent years.”
“The evidence that there is a negative relation between intelligence and religiosity is very strong,” Zuckerman said. “But the effect size of the relation is small. This means that there are factors besides intelligence that explain why people are or are not religious. It also means that although more intelligent people tend to be less religious on the average, predicting religiosity from intelligence for individuals is fallible.”
One relevant factor appeared to be cognitive style, the researcher told PsyPost, “In particular, an analytic (as opposed to intuitive) thinking style was related to both increased intelligence and reduced religiosity.”
But Zuckerman cautioned that empirical evidence for the explanations offered in the report “is not definitive.” He also said it is unclear whether the negative relationship would hold outside of Western societies and cautioned against extrapolating to other areas, such as the Far East.