Poor understanding correlates with religious/supernatural belief
According to this article in Applied Cognitive Psychology. The summary follows. The entire article can be accessed at Sci-Hub.
“Although supernatural beliefs often paint a peculiar picture about the physical world, the possibility that the beliefs might be based on inadequate understanding of the non-social world has not received research attention. In this study (N = 258), we therefore examined how physical-world skills and knowledge predict religious and paranormal beliefs. The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena. Regression analyses indicated that the strongest predictors of the beliefs were overall physical capability (a factor representing most physical skills, interests, and knowledge) and intuitive thinking style.”
Glad to know about this paper. I will probably use it in my Evolution of Religiosity & Human Coalitional Psychology this coming spring semester. Knowing about physical world may be confounded with analytical thinking style, which increases religious disbelief. (Let me know if you want related papers.) It would be very cool if knowledge about how physical world works was independent predictor. Thanks, Edward.