Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Friday, March 06, 2009

Are Religious People Really Close Minded?

A few years ago, I mentioned that the Stroop test might be able to determine what sort of people have more flexible minds. More recently, Michael Inzlicht et al. (seen via Neurocritic) have found:

Here we show that religious conviction is marked by reduced reactivity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a cortical system that is involved in the experience of anxiety and is important for self-regulation. In two studies, we recorded electroencephalographic neural reactivity in the ACC as participants completed a Stroop task. Results showed that stronger religious zeal and greater belief in God were associated with less firing of the ACC in response to error and with commission of fewer errors.
Hmmm…

If the people with stronger reactions to error in their ACC are also more likely to commit the errors, could it be that the strong reactions are causing the error? Maybe atheists are more concerned about other people's opinions and that can cause error.

On the other hand, piling correlations on correlations can also cause error. What's more, the sample size wasn't mentioned in the abstract and this might be based on a pathetically-small sample.

Addendum: Yes, pathetically small. It's 28.

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