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Subject: Religous children less altrusitic, more judgemental, study says. rss

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MARCUS GABRIEL
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In a recent study published in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2815...), they found that children from religious families tended to be less altruistic and harsher in their punitive tendencies than children from atheist or agnostic families. Please read the article and comment.
 
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Tom McVey
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MARCUSRPG wrote:
In a recent study published in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2815...), they found that children from religious families tended to be less altruistic and harsher in their punitive tendencies than children from atheist or agnostic families. Please read the article and comment.
1. Why's this in a Cell journal?
2. Would need to see replication of study
3. Studies summarized here tend to show either no (most studies) or positive correlation (a few studies) of religiousity with generousity/prosocial behavior. There's only one listed that showed a negative. So this study is a bit of an outlier.
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MARCUS GABRIEL
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tmcvey wrote:
MARCUSRPG wrote:
In a recent study published in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2815...), they found that children from religious families tended to be less altruistic and harsher in their punitive tendencies than children from atheist or agnostic families. Please read the article and comment.
1. Why's this in a Cell journal?
2. Would need to see replication of study
3. Studies summarized here tend to show either no (most studies) or positive correlation (a few studies) of religiousity with generousity/prosocial behavior. There's only one listed that showed a negative. So this study is a bit of an outlier.
I'm confused by your third point, since I went to that link and found the following:

"This paper reviews recent studies that claim to provide support, through statistical analysis of survey data, for the traditional proposition that being religious makes people more generous. The studies have serious shortcomings. First, the data consist exclusively of self-reports. Second, the dependent and independent variables are conceptually problematic and ill-defined. Third, even if there is a positive correlation between religious involvement and personal generosity, it may be due to selection bias. Thus, these studies do not provide serious evidence for the traditional hypothesis. Moreover, it has been directly controverted by experimental studies of economic and other behaviors."
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MARCUS GABRIEL
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tmcvey wrote:
MARCUSRPG wrote:
In a recent study published in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2815...), they found that children from religious families tended to be less altruistic and harsher in their punitive tendencies than children from atheist or agnostic families. Please read the article and comment.
1. Why's this in a Cell journal?
2. Would need to see replication of study
3. Studies summarized here tend to show either no (most studies) or positive correlation (a few studies) of religiousity with generousity/prosocial behavior. There's only one listed that showed a negative. So this study is a bit of an outlier.
1: It's in Current Biology because studies of altruism show there is a biological basis for this behavior, and it has been studied in other species.

2: true of all scientific studies. I agree completely.
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Scott Russell
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Anecdotally, based on being around the Christian kids with whom my kids are friends occasionally make me think that perhaps we should have taken our kids to church or at least VBS*.

But it could be that my kids just are copying my laziness and sarcasm without any external agency (or lack) being involved. laugh



*VBS was my original plan so that they'd be good on Jeopardy and get religious allusions in literature. I think one of my kids asked who was Jonah and what did he have to do with whales when he was in junior high when it came up in a book that he was reading.
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Tom McVey
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MARCUSRPG wrote:


1: It's in Current Biology because studies of altruism show there is a biological basis for this behavior, and it has been studied in other species.
Yeah, but the authors are all from Psychology Depts, and there's no particular biological versus psychological insight that this study gives.

Quote:
2: true of all scientific studies. I agree completely.
Which brings up the miserable replicability of empirical psychology studies.
 
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casey r lowe
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surprised to hear this as well but if they observed mostly children of fundie christians then im not surprised at all - their dogma is straight poison sociologically
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MARCUS GABRIEL
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tmcvey wrote:
MARCUSRPG wrote:


1: It's in Current Biology because studies of altruism show there is a biological basis for this behavior, and it has been studied in other species.
Yeah, but the authors are all from Psychology Depts, and there's no particular biological versus psychological insight that this study gives.


This may not be relevant to the science done.

Quote:
2: true of all scientific studies. I agree completely.
Quote:
I've seen this and agree there is a problem. This study does seem to avoid many pitfalls of earlier studies (limited sample size and homogeneous population, as well as some being based solely on self reporting), and based on their methodology seems quite replicable.
 
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MARCUS GABRIEL
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single sentences wrote:
surprised to hear this as well but if they observed mostly children of fundie christians then im not surprised at all - their dogma is straight poison sociologically
They did not say this. The information about fundamental christians came about during discussion regading the findings of other studies. This is, by the way, how errors creep into research; you might discuss this study as finding out such-and-such about fundamental christians based on your reading, but without going back and checking you out I would never discover that. Then someone quotes you in their research discussion, and so on. I gave a talk about this phenomenon almost thirty years ago at a conference.
 
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So basically, acting as a rational manner (economically speaking) is positively associated with religious children while irrational behavior is associated with non-religious children?

Or am I looking at the Dictator Game wrong?
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costguy wrote:
So basically, acting as a rational manner (economically speaking) is positively associated with religious children while irrational behavior is associated with non-religious children?

Or am I looking at the Dictator Game wrong?
I guess that goes along with the oft cited statistic that Religious adults are more charitable than non-religious ones. I wonder what occurs during the phase transition from child to adult that causes them to go all irrational?
 
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Mike Stiles
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Sounds like reductionist clickbait to me.
 
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jmilum wrote:
costguy wrote:
So basically, acting as a rational manner (economically speaking) is positively associated with religious children while irrational behavior is associated with non-religious children?

Or am I looking at the Dictator Game wrong?
I guess that goes along with the oft cited statistic that Religious adults are more charitable than non-religious ones. I wonder what occurs during the phase transition from child to adult that causes them to go all irrational?
I guess you did not read the article again.

The article said that the claim that Christians are more generous is false as well.

Quote:
These notions have been forwarded by recent publications as well, mostly using self-reports of hypothetical giving and charity, documenting that religious people are more likely to report higher rates of intended giving, but in fact, a careful meta-examination of the studies measuring actual behavior shows that there is little evidence for such a positive relation
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costguy wrote:
The article said that the claim that Christians are more generous is false as well.
well i'm glad that old saw has been shot down. so you believe this study is accurate then?
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Unsurprising. Since religion is generally predicated on fear and prejudice, loss aversion and reduced empathy should be more prevalent among its adherents.

Unfortunately, most atheists still believe in the religions of the state and of money.
 
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Tom McVey
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MARCUSRPG wrote:

I'm confused by your third point, since I went to that link and found the following:

"This paper reviews recent studies that claim to provide support, through statistical analysis of survey data, for the traditional proposition that being religious makes people more generous. The studies have serious shortcomings. First, the data consist exclusively of self-reports. Second, the dependent and independent variables are conceptually problematic and ill-defined. Third, even if there is a positive correlation between religious involvement and personal generosity, it may be due to selection bias. Thus, these studies do not provide serious evidence for the traditional hypothesis. Moreover, it has been directly controverted by experimental studies of economic and other behaviors."
There's a big difference between saying "there's no positive correlation between religiousity and prosocial behavior" and "there's a negative correlation"/

Said review had a valid point that earlier studies showing positive correlations between religiousity and generosity were flawed, but there were more studies showing no correlation. There's only one in that review/metastudy that showed a negative correlation. While this study might be valid - the p-values are very low and the sample size is large-ish and more diverse - it's still an outlier from previous studies in the directional claim it makes. So let's wait for the replication before comment.
 
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MARCUSRPG wrote:
In a recent study published in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2815...), they found that children from religious families tended to be less altruistic and harsher in their punitive tendencies than children from atheist or agnostic families. Please read the article and comment.
Well I just went and read all they bothered to actually publish on the site linked and here are my comments.

1) As for the "Judgmental" part

Quote:
Moral Sensitivity Task

In this computerized task, used previously with children in both behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies [19], a series of short dynamic visual scenarios depicting interpersonal harm (e.g., pushing, bumping) was presented.
That the children think doing those things are mean and that people doing them should be punished is a GOOD thing.

Which is the opposite gut reaction most "Westerners" feel when they hear the words "more judgmental".

So if I am understanding correctly what they tested for, than this is a positive trait and I am glad the children were more judgmental.

For societies to value JUSTICE, some level of judgements have to be made by somebody, when there are people out there who do harmful things.




2) As for "Altruism"


They used a game to determine how giving the children were.

Quote:
Dictator Game

In this task, children were shown a set of 30 stickers and were told to choose their ten favorite [6]. They were then told “these stickers are yours to keep.” Children were instructed that the experimenter did not have the time to play this game with all of the children in their school, so not everyone would be able to receive stickers.



However if you look one level deeper, the ORIGINAL uses of this game showed some very interesting things. In much better controlled studies. (aka less variables)

http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138%2806%2900093-6/f...

You can go read for yourself, but it boils down to this. Using this game in previous studies has shown some very strong tends that deal with economics of the society they live in and the relative wealth/poverty of the children's primary home.

Also there were large cultural impacts measured.

Children from higher social economic backgrounds were more likely to share "stickers" than children from lower ones.

Children from cultures where they think they are likely to be shared with were also more likely to share.

Also girls tend to be slightly more altruistic than boys.

So this game results could vary dramatically from nation to nation regardless of religion.

The only control this "religious" study used to determine social economic status was Maternal Education level. And they determined that since they were testing in mostly urban areas there likely were very few desperately poor children.

Now they pulled children from six countries. 5- to 12-year-old children (n = 1,151, mean (M) age = 8.29 years, SD = 2.17 years, n = 559 females) were recruited from local schools in six countries around the world: Chicago (USA), Toronto (Canada), Cape Town (South Africa), Istanbul and Izmir (Turkey), Amman (Jordan), and Guangzhou (China)

But if you go look at the table you will see that the likely distribution of wealth among the participants vs religiousness could have had a large impact on the study and was not controlled for.

The USA, Canada and the 3rd largest city in China (fairly prosperous) make up more than half of the participants but would likely overall have less Muslims.

However well more than half of the "Religious" children were Muslims.

510 Muslims
280 Christians
323 Non-Religious.

Look at the math here people.

Your "Non-religious" children obviously mostly came from Canada, USA and China!

Your "Religious" Children came primarily from Turkey and Jordan. Significantly poorer nations overall. Also with very different "National Cultural Identities" than USA, Canada, and China.

If there is an established correlation between Having MORE all the time and being willing to SHARE MORE in an one time study using stickers. (Which there is according to the previous studies done all in the same nation) And a correlation based the overall societies attitude toward reciprocal sharing (Which there is based on other studies using this Dictator Test) then:

That Kids from Canada, USA and China are more likely to be Altruistic about sharing stickers than kids from Turkey and Jordan is the real take away here. REGARDLESS of religion.

Kids who both have more everyday luxuries AND come from nations which strongly encourage "Sharing" as a significant part of their larger culture's ideology/identity.

Wow big surprise there!



shake

I cannot believe they didn't try to control better for the other factors so clearly delineated as impacting their "Dictator Game" testing.

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Mike Stiles
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Again, it's clickbait. Good to generate clicks from both sides.

Honest research has nothing to do with these kind of articles :D
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casey r lowe
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Meerkat wrote:
1) As for the "Judgmental" part

Quote:
Moral Sensitivity Task

In this computerized task, used previously with children in both behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies [19], a series of short dynamic visual scenarios depicting interpersonal harm (e.g., pushing, bumping) was presented.
That the children think doing those things are mean and that people doing them should be punished is a GOOD thing.

Which is the opposite gut reaction most "Westerners" feel when they hear the words "more judgmental".

So if I am understanding correctly what they tested for, than this is a positive trait and I am glad the children were more judgmental.

For societies to value JUSTICE, some level of judgements have to be made by somebody, when there are people out there who do harmful things.
what they evaluated here is intentional vs accidental interpersonal harm - the reaction to intentional harm was similar across the board only accidental it was different
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windsagio wrote:
Again, it's clickbait. Good to generate clicks from both sides.

Honest research has nothing to do with these kind of articles
Yep: try this for a response:

http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=ge...;f=2;t=019608

Ship of Fools » Community discussion » Purgatory » Religion makes children nasty

<an attempt to get a link that works!>
 
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MARCUSRPG wrote:
tmcvey wrote:
MARCUSRPG wrote:
In a recent study published in Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2815...), they found that children from religious families tended to be less altruistic and harsher in their punitive tendencies than children from atheist or agnostic families. Please read the article and comment.
1. Why's this in a Cell journal?
2. Would need to see replication of study
3. Studies summarized here tend to show either no (most studies) or positive correlation (a few studies) of religiousity with generousity/prosocial behavior. There's only one listed that showed a negative. So this study is a bit of an outlier.
I'm confused by your third point, since I went to that link and found the following:

"This paper reviews recent studies that claim to provide support, through statistical analysis of survey data, for the traditional proposition that being religious makes people more generous. The studies have serious shortcomings. First, the data consist exclusively of self-reports. Second, the dependent and independent variables are conceptually problematic and ill-defined. Third, even if there is a positive correlation between religious involvement and personal generosity, it may be due to selection bias. Thus, these studies do not provide serious evidence for the traditional hypothesis. Moreover, it has been directly controverted by experimental studies of economic and other behaviors."
One of the major problems with any psychological study is that they always self select for people willing to take part in studies and why they are willing.

However if you go look at Philanthropic DATA, collected from people actually DOING the giving and volunteering, I think you get a better picture overall of the reality of altruism.

In the USA and Canada, religious motivations and practices have been found to be strongly correlated with the amount of money being given and volunteer time been worked. INCLUDING to entirely secular organizations.

Until the data being collected from surveys of people doing the actual volunteering and giving shows changes, I am going to be skeptical of smaller specialized studies getting vastly different results.



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I'm not sure I understand the value of this study without the context of more specific age ranges for the children involved, based on their developmental stages. 5 year olds are still being introduced to concepts of right/wrong, empathy for others, etc., and really have no capacity for abstract thought. A 12 year old is a completely different entity, they are reinforcing these concepts as they mature and have entered or are shortly entering puberty.

The authors mention 3 to 8 year old and a more limited developmental capacity, but I just can't understand why they think they could have a hypothesis that applies to all ages given such profound development in that span of ages.
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single sentences wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
1) As for the "Judgmental" part

Quote:
Moral Sensitivity Task

In this computerized task, used previously with children in both behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies [19], a series of short dynamic visual scenarios depicting interpersonal harm (e.g., pushing, bumping) was presented.
That the children think doing those things are mean and that people doing them should be punished is a GOOD thing.

Which is the opposite gut reaction most "Westerners" feel when they hear the words "more judgmental".

So if I am understanding correctly what they tested for, than this is a positive trait and I am glad the children were more judgmental.

For societies to value JUSTICE, some level of judgements have to be made by somebody, when there are people out there who do harmful things.
what they evaluated here is intentional vs accidental interpersonal harm - the reaction to intentional harm was similar across the board only accidental it was different
They say that is part of their findings, but I have yet to find either the methodology or data they used to back that up.

Since they didn't control well for variables in the Dictator Game, I am not all that confidant their other conclusions without being able to look at their assumptions.
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Is there a study on children from parents who tithe?
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Other than biology, I've always found that the suffix -ology means "wants to be a science."
 
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