Connect with us

Study Shows Children Raised With Religion Find It Challenging To Judge Fact From Fiction

Published

on

A new study finds that children who are exposed to religion find it hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Young children in two studies were tested to see how they perceived main characters in both realistic stories with no fantastical elements, and in stories that included extra-natural or supernatural elements. 

“In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories,” an abstract published by Cognitive Science, a journal of the professional Cognitive Science Society. “In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion.”

Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children’s upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional.

The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

The study, “Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children From Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds,” was led by Kathleen Corriveau, a Boston University Assistant Professor with degrees from Harvard, Cambridge, and Brown. She has published almost two dozen papers or studies on children and how they learn to trust facts, including “Abraham Lincoln and Harry Potter: children’s differentiation between historical and fantasy characters.

Scott Kaufman at The Raw Story reports researchers demonstrated “that children typically have a ‘sensitivity to the implausible or magical elements in a narrative,’ and can determine whether the characters in the narrative are real or fictional by references to fantastical elements within the narrative, such as ‘invisible sails’ or ‘a sword that protects you from danger every time.’”

However, children raised in households in which religious narratives are frequently encountered do not treat those narratives with the same skepticism. The authors believed that these children would “think of them as akin to fairy tales,” judging “the events described in them as implausible or magical and conclude that the protagonists in such narratives are only pretend.”

And yet, “this prediction is likely to be wrong,” because “with appropriate testimony from adults” in religious households, children “will conceive of the protagonist in such narratives as a real person — even if the narrative includes impossible events.”

“Children with exposure to religion — via church attendance, parochial schooling, or both — judged [characters in religious stories] to be real,” the authors wrote. “By contrast, children with no such exposure judged them to be pretend,” just as they had the characters in fairy tales. But children with exposure to religion judged many characters in fantastical, but not explicitly religious stories, to also be real — the equivalent of being incapable of differentiating between Mark Twain’s character Tom Sawyer and an account of George Washington’s life.

Bottom line: Researchers concluded that “religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.”

 

Image by Prashanth NS via Flickr

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

'CAN'T WE END THIS ALREADY?'

Court Slaps Down Trump’s Attempt to Intimidate Pennsylvania Voters

Published

on

At a Friday night rally, Republican President Donald Trump talked about his attempts to have “poll watchers” in the swing state of Pennsylvania, an attempt that a local court recently ruled as illegal.

“I think we’re leading everywhere,” Trump said at the rally. “We think in Pennsylvania doing great. We got to be very careful Philadelphia. They play games in Philadelphia, and they won’t let us watch the count in Philadelphia… So we’re watching Philadelphia.”

Trump then told his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to “please watch Philadelphia … because I don’t like what I’m hearing about Philadelphia…. I don’t like what I see going on in terms of what’s gone on over the past, and probably what’s going on. Think of it. They fought like hell that we can’t watch them. Count the vote, what’s wrong with watching? why can’t we have poll watchers? And so we’re in court right now poll watches in Philadelphia. But we’re doing great in Pennsylvania, gotta watch Philadelphia.”

First off, the so-called poll watchers are needless seeing as there’s zero evidence of voter fraud at polling places, so Trump’s “watchers” are little more than intimidators meant to make Democratic voters nervous.

Second off, it’s not Meadows’ job to handle poll monitoring, election monitors or lawsuits. The White House Chief of staff serves as a “liaison among members of the President’s cabinet and the White House [and is] is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the President.”

Third off, on Friday, local Judge Gary Glazer ruled that the Trump campaign’s attempt to have poll-watchers at the state polls isn’t allowed under state law. The Trump campaign had sent unauthorized poll watchers into satellite poll offices where local election officials register voters and help people fill out their mail-in ballots, but the officials kicked the watchers out.

Trump said his watcher should be allowed to monitor such offices, but a bipartisan Philadelphia City Commission said that the satellite locations don’t qualify as official polling stations and therefore don’t qualify as a place allowed by state law to have poll watchers. Judge Glazer agreed.

On September 27, Politico wrote that Trump had hired dozens of lawyers from three major law firms and recruited thousands of volunteer attorneys to contest election results in 17 key states considered vital to his re-election.

In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Michael Gwin told the publication, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”

Continue Reading

'PROPAGANDA SPIN WOULD MAKE GOEBBELS PROUD'

This Democrat Is Beating His GOP Opponent, So the Right-Wing Is Lying About Him Dressing Up As Hitler

Published

on

Mark Kelley, Hitler, Democrat

Arizona senatorial candidate Mark Kelly is currently beating his Republican challenger Martha McSally by about 5 percentage points. So a right-wing media outlet decided to try and take Kelly down by posting a photo and lying about him dressing up as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during his school days at the Merchant Marine Academy.

On Friday, the right-wing website the National File shared photographic “proof” that Kelley had dressed as Hitler, and the post quickly went viral. But Kelly’s former classmates Jennifer Boykin, Peter Lindsey, Mark Baden and Ed McDonald have all said that the image isn’t of Kelly.

Lindsey in particular said someone contacted him with the image via the professional social network LinkedIn asked “and asked if the person in the costume was Mark Kelly. I told them no, and want to say again, Mark is not in those photos. I have spoken to numerous classmates about this evening, and they concur that he is not in any of these pictures. The people spreading these lies should stop.”

“The person who reached out to Lindsey was identified by the campaign as a paid consultant for a super political action committee aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., that is spending millions of dollars to help defeat Kelly,” AZCentral.com reports.

Continue Reading

'BUCKLE UP'

Every Second Another American Gets COVID-19. 100,000 New Daily Cases Predicted by Election

Published

on

On Friday, the U.S. reported its highest ever daily toll of new COVID-19 cases with  83,948 new cases, according to Reuters. Considering that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, that means that almost every second, a U.S. resident comes down with a new case of COVID-19, according to New York Times correspondent Mike Baker.

Meanwhile, Dr. Angela Rasumussen, a virologist at Columbia University, has predicted that the U.S. will likely have its highest-ever daily count of newly confirmed cases by Election Day with around 100,000 new cases in a single day.

As of October 23, an average of 800 U.S. residents are dying of COVID-19 each week and nationwide there are currently 41,000 hospitalizations related to the ongoing pandemic, reports The Guardian.

At the third and final debate last Thursday, Republican President Donald Trump said we’re “rounding the corner” on the epidemic, meaning that we’re improving towards sustainable change. There are no indicators that is actually happening. In fact, at a rally on Friday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden quipped, “As many as 210,000 avoidable deaths, and there’s not much he would do differently? If this is a success, what’s a failure look like?”

In fact, multiple pandemic experts, including Dr. Anthont Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said cases are likely to rise even higher during the cold winter months as people cluster indoors and meet for fall and winter holidays.

As of October 23, the U.S. has had over 8,535,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 223,900 related deaths. The epidemic has now killed more Americans than were killed in the U.S. military conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I combined.

While Trump has promised that a vaccine will appear in a few weeks, Dr. Fauci has said that a majority of Americans won’t have access to it until deep into 2021.

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.