Cognitive Style and Religious Attitudes Project

The Cognitive Style and Religious Attitudes Project team is gathering research data through online surveys at that they hope will help shed light on how social, cultural, cognitive, and personality factors influence – and are influenced by – religious belief. The resulting publications will contribute to conversations in the scientific study of religion, political psychology, moral psychology, political science, and related fields. A fast-growing body of research has shown that religious believers often think more holistically and intuitively than nonbelievers, while nonbelievers tend to rely more on analytical and abstract cognition. The project aims to understand the cultural and contextual influences on this relationship, with an eye to evolutionary ultimate causes.

Key Personnel

Connor Wood
Jonathan Morgan
Ravi Iyer
Catherine Caldwell-Harris
Thomas Talhelm


The team has presented findings at the International Association for the Psychology of Religion, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion. They also have a forthcoming book chapter setting forth their social foundations hypothesis for the relationship between religiosity and cognitive style.