Date: October 25, 2018
“People who are highly religious or spiritual are slightly less humble about their intellectual abilities on average, according to new research. But the study indicates that authoritarianism is the key factor.
The findings were published in the scientific journal
“Intellectual humility is a form of humility related to the way people think. It can be defined as a nonthreatening awareness of one’s intellectual fallibility,” said study author Elizabeth Krumrei-Mancuso, an associate professor of psychology at Pepperdine University.
“I’m interested in this topic because it is foundational for gaining new knowledge and understanding. That is, people who realize and accept that their knowledge is not perfect will be more likely to discover biases and errors in their thinking, consider other viewpoints, respect those who disagree, and so forth.”
“As such, intellectual humility benefits individuals as well as relationships and society. I was further interested in the links between intellectual humility and religion, given that religion is a pervasive aspect of culture that has been closely tied to the way people view and treat others,” Krumrei-Mancuso told PsyPost.
“It initially seemed that a number of religious and spiritual variables predicted less intellectual humility over time, but these links mostly disappeared when factoring in the construct of right-wing authoritarianism,” Krumrei-Mancuso explained.
“This suggests that religion and spirituality are mostly unrelated to intellectual humility, but that certain sociopolitical attitudes about authority are associated with decreases in intellectual humility. These sociopolitical attitudes include a strong emphasis on obedience to leaders, intolerance of deviance, and conformity to norms.”
Right-wing authoritarianism describes the tendency to submit to political authority and be hostile towards other groups The right-wing authoritarianism scale asks participants how much they agree with statements such as: “It’s always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds.”