The Genetics of Religion and Spirituality

27 Oct

The Quest for a Good Life

One of the most intriguing questions regarding personal religiousness and spirituality concerns why some people are more motivated than others to seek and find a faith perspective. For many, this raises the question of whether nature (for example, genetics) vs. nurture (for example, upbringing) makes more of a difference.

Psychologists often use behavioral genetics research to try to untease the relative effects of nature vs. nurture. For instance, in one large study, approximately 2,000 identical twins and 2,000 fraternal twins born in Virginia were asked questions about their religious values, church attendance, and religious affiliation. Identical twins were considerably more similar to each other in their values and attendance, but not so much in their affiliation. Research conducted at the University of Minnesota comparing identical and fraternal twins raised apart (in separate home environments because of being split apart through the adoption process) suggests something similar with the extent to which individuals report being intrinsically religious (whereby…

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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in General News


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