Religious Americans Have Less Positive Attitudes Toward Science, but This Does Not Extend to Other Cultures

Jonathon McPhetres, Jonathan Jong, Miron Zuckerman

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    34 Citations (Scopus)
    30 Downloads (Pure)


    It is commonly claimed that science and religion are logically and psychologically at odds with one another. However, previous studies have mainly examined American samples; therefore, generalizations about antagonism between religion and science may be unwarranted. We examined the correlation between religiosity and attitudes toward science across 11 studies including representative data from 60 countries (N = 66,438), nine convenience samples from the United States (N = 2,160), and a cross-national panel sample from five understudied countries (N = 1,048). Results show that, within the United States, religiosity is consistently associated with lower interest in science topics and activities and less positive explicit and implicit attitudes toward science. However, this relationship is inconsistent around the world, with positive, negative, and null correlations being observed in various countries. Our findings are inconsistent with the idea that science and religion are necessarily at odds, undermining common theories of scientific advancement undermining religion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)528-536
    Number of pages9
    JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
    Issue number4
    Early online date23 Jun 2020
    Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Studies 1-6 were supported by faculty funds from Miron Zuckerman, and funds for Study 7 were awarded to Jonathan Jong


    • cross cultural
    • religion
    • religiosity
    • science attitudes
    • secularization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology


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