Sunday, December 07, 2014

Church-goers are NOT dumber

That people are religious because they are stupid has been a  frequent assertion, particularly from the Left.  Some recent high-quality research (below), however, refutes that.  They found no association between church-going and IQ but did find a weak association between non-committed religiosity and IQ.  And religious people are also NOT more likely to go ga-ga as they get older.  See also here and here

Religiosity is negatively associated with later-life intelligence, but not with age-related cognitive decline


A well-replicated finding in the psychological literature is the negative correlation between religiosity and intelligence. However, several studies also conclude that one form of religiosity, church attendance, is protective against later-life cognitive decline.

No effects of religious belief per se on cognitive decline have been found, potentially due to the restricted measures of belief used in previous studies. Here, we examined the associations between religiosity, intelligence, and cognitive change in a cohort of individuals (initial n = 550) with high-quality measures of religious belief taken at age 83 and multiple cognitive measures taken in childhood and at four waves between age 79 and 90.

We found that religious belief, but not attendance, was negatively related to intelligence. The effect size was smaller than in previous studies of younger participants. Longitudinal analyses showed no effect of either religious belief or attendance on cognitive change either from childhood to old age, or across the ninth decade of life.

We discuss differences between our cohort and those in previous studies – including in age and location – that may have led to our non-replication of the association between religious attendance and cognitive decline.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

1 comment:

Doom said...

And religious people are also NOT more likely to go ga-ga as they get older.

I debate this, a bit, but with... qualifications and caveats.

While I do believe people have a tendency to go a little whack as they age, I do not believe that to be limited to the faithful. It happens much the way, as water flows through a gap, nearing a waterfall, that the flow changes. As people near death, focus changes.

A serious caveat is that what young, old, and professional or lay consider infirm are many different things, none of those groups is perfectly correct, or even close. Insanity, I don't think, is a disease. Not for most anyway. It is a condition of life when things don't fit, or reality is disputed. Moments all know. Further, the young do not consider themselves partially insane because they are moving on adrenaline and hormones, and can't see it. It's in everybody. Elders just seem to, finally, submit to the understanding and, perhaps, relish it in a more refined fashion. The young just live it, blind to it through exhaustion and the various chemicals of a young life.

Just some thoughts.


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