New study uncovers a neurocognitive process that predicts differences in belief

The researchers admit this needs further study, but it is interesting. Not sure I agree on their process in finding the answer though.

https://www.psypost.org/2020/09/new-study-uncovers-a-neurocognitive-process-that-predicts-differences-in-belief-in-god-58009?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-study-uncovers-a-neurocognitive-process-that-predicts-differences-in-belief-in-god

Thanks for that interesting study. I have always associated the ability to recognize “patterns” as the cause for religious beliefs in a higher intelligence.

This started in early hominids and is still observable in Chimpanzees. The apparent order and regularity that patterns bring suggest “intent” by a motivated unseen intelligence in the sky, a god.

But it isn’t a choice between a motivated conscious intelligence or no causal intelligence. The third option is that natural regularities are due to a “quasi-intelligent” orderly mathematical processing of “information”.

IOW, inherent universal mathematical functions give the appearance of motivated intelligence, but these quasi-intelligent functions need not be conscious at all. All that is required is a mathematical hierarchy of orders and regularities.

 

So people who come to conclusions by pattern recognition, but are not conscious of their ability to recognize the patterns, tend to believe in some supernatural entity.

I can see how they can mistakenly attribute their coming to conclusions to their “gut” or to “some deity speaking to them with an inner voice”.

Iow, people who are less conscious of their own thinking, tend to fabricate or to rely on fabricated religious beliefs.

Of course the study can be easily over-generalized. I suspect that there are a good number of atheists who can recognize patterns without being aware of their doing it.

timb said: Of course the study can be easily over-generalized. I suspect that there are a good number of atheists who can recognize patterns without being aware of their doing it.
Everything we look at is a pattern and a 3D pattern at that. Whatever we see is a pattern. Without a pattern there is only chaos.... :)
Everything we look at is a pattern and a 3D pattern at that. Whatever we see is a pattern. Without a pattern there is only chaos…. ?
Ok, (although some things are definitely seem more "patterny" than others, but) let's generally assume that "Everything we look at is a pattern and a 3D pattern at that".

But that does not address the “awareness” part of the contingencies, in the study.

Let’s say again, as you have, that we see everything as patterns. The fact remains, does it not?, that we are not always aware of our seeing patterns. This is referred to operationally in the study as “implicit pattern learning”.

They found that persons who tend toward implicit pattern learning (i.e., who are not aware of the patterns) tend to be among the most religious of the persons in the study.

My comment was an attempt to convey, that I suspect that a good number of atheists (iow, maybe not most, but a significant number of them) (ALSO) implicitly recognize patterns (often times).

Interesting. I’ve actually known about something along these lines for some time, but I don’t know quite how it would apply to this study. I think I saw it in a documentary years ago where someone said that the human brain is very good at spotting patterns, even patterns which do not exist. If I recall correctly it was relating to people claiming to hear meaningful sounds in the ghost hunter’s EVP recordings. So ability to interpret the data as having a pattern consistent with speech, whether such a pattern existed or not, at least re-confirmed the beliefs. I always just assumed it was one of the ways in which belief changed the mind, making the person more reliant on emotion than facts for determining what was real and what was not.

BUT, that wasn’t about actual patterns, it was about perceived patterns, whether they were there or not. I wish I could remember where I heard that from to get some more context. It’s one of those things I’m always consciously aware of whenever I hear about people holding some unusual belief, but don’t really think about much. I don’t even remember if the person who said it was someone educated in psychology or not. It may have just been “some guy” who I took as knowing what he was talking about.

Still, an interesting correlation in the study. But I have no idea how that would mesh with what I already thought I know (again, I don’t know if I got this from someone who actually knew or just sounded like they did).

This is an important video . Pay close attention to some very interesting perspectives of our neurocognitive processes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyu7v7nWzfo