God beliefs uniquely egocentric, research finds

Atheistextremist
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God beliefs uniquely egocentric, research finds

 

Believers' Inferences About God's Beliefs Are Uniquely Egocentric

ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2009) — Religious people tend to use their own beliefs as a guide in thinking about what God believes, but are less constrained when reasoning about other people's beliefs, according to new study published in the Nov. 30 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Nicholas Epley, professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, led the research, which included a series of survey and neuroimaging studies to examine the extent to which people's own beliefs guide their predictions about God's beliefs. The findings of Epley and his co-authors at Australia's Monash University and UChicago extend existing work in psychology showing that people are often egocentric when they infer other people's beliefs.

The PNAS paper reports the results of seven separate studies. The first four include surveys of Boston rail commuters, UChicago undergraduate students and a nationally representative database of online respondents in the United States. In these surveys, participants reported their own belief about an issue, their estimated God's belief, along with a variety of others, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Major League Baseball's Barry Bonds, President George W. Bush, and an average American.

Two other studies directly manipulated people's own beliefs and found that inferences about God's beliefs tracked their own beliefs. Study participants were asked, for example, to write and deliver a speech that supported or opposed the death penalty in front of a video camera. Their beliefs were surveyed both before and after the speech.

The final study involved functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the neural activity of test subjects as they reasoned about their own beliefs versus those of God or another person. The data demonstrated that reasoning about God's beliefs activated many of the same regions that become active when people reasoned about their own beliefs.

The researchers noted that people often set their moral compasses according to what they presume to be God's standards. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing," they conclude. "This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing."

But the research in no way denies the possibility that God's presumed beliefs also may provide guidance in situations where people are uncertain of their own beliefs, the co-authors noted.

Funding was provided by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Templeton Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 I'm glad they did the

 I'm glad they did the study, especially the one analyzing brain activity, but this is not "news to me".

I never thought there were corners in my mind until I was told to stand in one.

I have learned so much, thanks for keeping it real RRS.


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Puts a beautiful irony into

Puts a beautiful irony into my signature eh? Of course I knew this when I came up with it back in '97, but I was going on my own interpretation of studying people and how it requires more ego and arrogance to claim to "know" there's a god. Not to even mention some people's capacity to go further and claim "knowledge" of what god is. Now I have an actual study to back it up. lol.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Atheistextremist
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Yes - also interesting is the

 

Christian skill of interpreting the will/mind of god in real time. How do they do it?

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Christian skill of interpreting the will/mind of god in real time. How do they do it?

 

I'm sure if you asked they would explain to you how time is not "real" because without god there can be no time so real cannot be "real" in any sense if you consider time as "god" and god as "real time." So obviously, it's time to get real about god, you HEATHEN!

...or something to that effect. That's usually the logical progression they tend to use 


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Not surprised but its always

Not surprised but its always good to have a study, rather than just going on assuming we're right.


Atheistextremist
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Yes, a study is nice

 

But it leaves you hungry to understand how the mind really works so we can throw it in the faces of the soul-believers.

In terms of comprehending mind and the electrochemical reality of thought, MRI is like digging up fossils with a Cat D9.  In fact that analogy doesn't go nearly far enough.

A comprehension of the actuality of 'self' would be very pleasing. Even just a better understanding of the process of thought would be good.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think our mental science is in earliest infancy.

 

Hey did anyone else read the study recently where researchers wired up some heads and were able, in very broad palette, to watch a

film the research subjects were watching - through the equipment picking up signals from the subjects' brains?

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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No, but that is AWESOME!!! 

No, but that is AWESOME!!!  Seriously.  This is why I study psychology.


Cpt_pineapple
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This seems

This seems kinda.....familar

 

 

 


butterbattle
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:This

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

This seems kinda.....familar

Ooohh, you're going to use this one against Hamby, aren't ya? 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

This seems kinda.....familar

Ooohh, you're going to use this one against Hamby, aren't ya? 

 

 

Nah.

 

This will however to into my thought purse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Very cool

That fits in perfectly with a lot of personal observation. Especially in discussions with them here at the RRS.

"The researchers noted that people often set their moral compasses according to what they presume to be God's standards. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing," they conclude. "This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing."

Yep, no surprises there.

 

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51