Patterns of belief and patterned thought: relationships between religious fundamentalism and cognitive restructuring
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Previous research on religious fundamentalism has focused on correlating fundamentalism with a number of personality variables. Religious fundamentalism has been associated with low religious quest, high right-wing authoritarianism, prejudice, and authoritarian styles of child raising. Research on cognitive variables associated with religious fundamentalism has shown that it is associated with reduced cognitive complexity and lower complexity of thinking in problem solving. The overall view which has developed, is one of religious fundamentalism as a very rigid structure of belief which emphasizes traditional interpretations and ways of viewing the world. It was the hypothesis of this study that this structure of belief would interfere in the ability to solve cognitive restructuring or insight problems, as these problems require flexibility in mental representation in order to be solved. Forty-four subjects were recruited from the Psychology 107 Subject Pool and were given the Altemeyer-Hunsberger religious fundamentalism scale and 10 cognitive restructuring problems. Analysis of the results using a Pearson's R show no significant results (r=.38). However, when graphed the data show interesting patterns of uniformly high scores in cognitive restructuring in those who scored low in religious fundamentalism, and very high variation in restructuring scores in those who scored high in religious fundamentalism. Possible reasons for this are addressed, and directions for future research are suggested.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 14-15).
Seyle, Daniel Conor (2000). Patterns of belief and patterned thought: relationships between religious fundamentalism and cognitive restructuring. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from