Override the controversy: Analytic thinking predicts endorsement of evolution.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Gervais, Will M
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Cognition
Volume: 142
Pagination: 312-21
Date Published: 2015 Sep
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1873-7838

Despite overwhelming scientific consensus, popular opinions regarding evolution are starkly divided. In the USA, for example, nearly one in three adults espouse a literal and recent divine creation account of human origins. Plausibly, resistance to scientific conclusions regarding the origins of species-like much resistance to other scientific conclusions (Bloom & Weisberg, 2007)-gains support from reliably developing intuitions. Intuitions about essentialism, teleology, agency, and order may combine to make creationism potentially more cognitively attractive than evolutionary concepts. However, dual process approaches to cognition recognize that people can often analytically override their intuitions. Two large studies (total N=1324) found consistent evidence that a tendency to engage analytic thinking predicted endorsement of evolution, even controlling for relevant demographic, attitudinal, and religious variables. Meanwhile, exposure to religion predicted reduced endorsement of evolution. Cognitive style is one factor among many affecting opinions on the origin of species.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2015.05.011
Alternate Journal: Cognition