Are those with less belief more likely to proselytize?

A seminal case study by Festinger found, paradoxically, that evidence that disconfirmed religious beliefs increased individuals’ tendency to proselytize to others. Although this finding is renowned, surprisingly, it has never been subjected to experimental scrutiny and is open to multiple interpretations. We examined a general form of the question first posed by Festinger, namely, how does shaken confidence influence advocacy? Across three experiments, people whose confidence in closely held beliefs was undermined engaged in more advocacy of their beliefs (as measured by both advocacy effort and intention to advocate) than did people whose confidence was not undermined. The effect was attenuated when individuals affirmed their beliefs, and was moderated by both importance of the belief and open-mindedness of a message recipient. These findings not only have implications for the results of Festinger’s seminal study, but also offer new insights into people’s motives for advocating their beliefs.

Source: “When in Doubt, Shout! Paradoxical Influences of Doubt on Proselytizing” from Psychological Science October 13, 2010

For further reading on the subject of religion, I recommend Jack Miles’ excellent book, “God: A Biography” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996.

Related Posts:

Is there a connection between atheism and intelligence?

How to easily get strangers to be kinder to you

Can you get the well-being benefits of religion without being religious?

Do churches offer economic incentives to priests to increase membership?

Are Catholics more likely to exhibit OCD symptoms?

Does the US News and World Report college ranking discriminate against religiously affiliated schools?

Does believing in witchcraft make you happier?

Priest, Minister and Rabbi: Which one does the most for the public good?

Is it religion that provides happiness or just certainty about the world?

How does religious denomination affect household finance?

Does the Biblical character Job meet the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Do laws against Muslim veils actually increase religiosity?

Which is a stronger religious motivator: getting into heaven or avoiding hell?

Are religious people more generous, giving and cooperative?

Does “will to live” really make a difference in when you die?

Why do people say they’re “Spiritual but not religious”?

Does religion stress us out or relieve anxiety?

You should follow me on Twitter here. You can also subscribe to the blog’s feed or follow on Facebook. If you want to help support the blog, please do your Amazon shopping via this link. Here are the site’s most popular posts of all time.


Tags:
Posted In:
Post Details