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New Research: Rejection of Evolution Associated With Racism and Prejudice

In a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology researchers from Israel and the United States found that individuals who accept human evolution tend to exhibit reduced levels of prejudice compared to those who reject the theory. The researchers determined that those who don't accept evolution are more likely to exhibit racism and prejudice toward individuals of different races, religions, and cultures.

The study, “Bigotry and the human-animal divide: (Dis)belief in human evolution and bigoted attitudes across different cultures“, was authored by Stylianos Syropoulos, Uri Lifshin, Jeff Greenberg, Dylan E. Horner, and Bernhard Leidner.

Their research involved tens of thousands of individuals from all across the globe. They analyzed thousands of responses to the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of U.S. citizens, 21,827 responses to Pew Research Center surveys of Christian individuals in 19 Eastern European countries, and survey responses from 28,004 Muslim individuals in 25 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

In examining the data sets the authors of the study consistently found that disbelief in evolution was associated with racism and bigotry. “Our findings were consistent across cultural, religious, and national contexts, for majority and minority groups, and even towards groups that were fictional (i.e., created by the research team).”

But, why would acceptance of evolution make an individual more accepting and more tolerant of other individuals and groups in society? The researchers offer some possible answers in their article. “We believe this link makes sense because of theoretical work on Social Identity Theory (i.e., when people believe in evolution, they are more likely to believe that they are similar to other people, as we all have a common ancestor); Terror Management Theory (i.e., in short, people are less defensive of their cultural worldviews and more accepting of others) and Moral Expansiveness Theory (i.e., people who believe in evolution potentially expand their moral circle to include animals, as they perceive them and animals to originate from a common ancestor, which in turn leads to them valuing people from other groups a lot too).”

#research #news #culture

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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