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The topic of religiosity and intelligence is the relationship between intelligence and religiosity. A number of studies have examined these relationships, while other studies have explored the link between religiosity and issues related to intelligence such as educational level.
Intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. However, some psychologists prefer not to include these traits in the definition of intelligence.
A widely-researched index or classification of intelligence among scientists is Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.). I.Q. is a summary index, calculated by testing individuals' abilities in a variety of tasks and producing a composite score to represent overall ability, e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. It is used to predict educational outcomes and other variables of interest.
Others have attempted to measure intelligence indirectly by looking at individuals' or group's educational attainment, although this risks bias from other demographic factors, such as age, income, gender and cultural background, all of which can affect educational attainment.
Dissatisfaction with traditional IQ tests has led to the development of alternative theories, all of which suggest that intelligence is the result of independent abilities that contribute to human performance. In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences, which claims a broadening of the conventional definition of intelligence is needed, since, if intelligence is defined as the cognitive or mental capacity of an individual, this would logically include all forms of mental qualities, not simply the ones most transparent to standardized I.Q. tests. The categories of intelligences Gardner proposes are logical, linguistic, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, naturalist, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences.
Jean Piaget developed stages as an alternative to IQ after studying the nature of the wrong answers on items. The Model of Hierarchical Complexity was formed as an alternative to IQ. Performance on the items varying in hierarchical complexity from 0 to 14, is absolute, and does not require norms. Because the orders are content and context free, they can be used to measure performance in any domain, including the ones mention by Gardner and Goleman.
Religiosity is a sociological term referring to degrees of religious behaviour, belief or spirituality. The measurement of religiosity is hampered by the difficulties involved in defining what is meant by the term. Numerous studies have explored the different components of religiosity, with most finding some distinction between religious beliefs/ doctrine, religious practice, and spirituality. Studies can measure religious practice by counting attendance at religious services, religious beliefs/ doctrine by asking a few doctrinal questions, while spirituality can be measured by asking respondents about their sense of oneness with the divine or through detailed standardized measurements. When religiosity is measured, it is important to specify which aspects of religiosity are referred to.
In 2008, intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg examined whether IQ relates to denomination and income, using representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which includes intelligence tests on a representative selection of white American youth, where they have also replied to questions about religious belief. His results, published in the scientific journal Intelligence, demonstrated that Atheists scored an average of 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions.
Nyborg also co-authored a study with Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, which compared religious belief and average national IQs in 137 countries. The study analysed the issue from several viewpoints. Firstly, using data from a U.S. study of 6,825 adolescents, the authors found that atheists scored 6 IQ points higher than those adhering to a religion.
Secondly, the authors investigated the link between religiosity and intelligence on a country level. Among the sample of 137 countries, only 23 (17%) had more than 20% of atheists, which constituted “virtually all... higher IQ countries.” The authors reported a correlation of 0.60 between atheism rates and level of intelligence, which was determined to be “highly statistically significant”.
Professor Gordon Lynch, from London's Birkbeck College, expressed concern that the study failed to take into account a complex range of social, economic and historical factors— each of which has been shown to interact with religion and IQ in different ways. Gallup surveys, for example, have found that the world's poorest countries are consistently the most religious, perhaps because religion plays a more functional role (helping people cope) in poorer nations.
Commenting on some of the above studies in The Daily Telegraph, Lynn said "Why should fewer academics believe in God than the general population? I believe it is simply a matter of the IQ. Academics have higher IQs than the general population. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God." A study in March 2010 published in Social Psychology Quarterly also stated that "atheism ...correlate[s] with higher intelligence".
Even at the scale of the individual, IQ may not directly cause more disbelief in God. Dr David Hardman of London Metropolitan University says: "It is very difficult to conduct true experiments that would explicate a causal relationship between IQ and religious belief." He adds that other studies do nevertheless correlate IQ with being willing or able to question beliefs. The idea that analytical thinking makes one less likely to be religious is an idea supported by other early studies on this issue including a report from Harvard University. First of all, the Harvard researchers found evidence suggesting that all religious beliefs become more confident when participants are thinking intuitively (atheist and theists each become more convinced). Thus reflective thinking generally tends to create more qualified, doubted belief.
On the other hand, the Harvard study found that participants who tended to think more reflectively were less likely to believe in God. Reflective thinking was further correlated with greater changes in beliefs since childhood: these changes were towards atheism for the most reflective participants, and towards greater belief in God for the most intuitive thinkers. The study controlled for personality differences and cognitive ability, suggesting the differences were due to thinking styles - not simply IQ or raw cognitive ability. An experiment in the study found that participants moved towards greater belief in God after writing essays about how intuition yielded a right answer or reflection yielded a wrong answer (and conversely, towards atheism if primed to think about either a failure of intuition or success of reflection). The authors say it is all evidence that a relevant factor in religious belief is thinking style. The authors add that, even if intuitive thinking tends to increase belief in God, "it does not follow that reliance on intuition is always irrational or unjustified."
A small 2004 study by Ellen Paek empirically examined the extent to which religiosity, operationalized as religious orientation and religious behaviour, is related to the controversial idea of Emotional Intelligence (EI). The study examined the extent to which religious orientation and behavior were related to self-reported (EI) in 148 church attending adult Christians. (non-religious individuals were not part of the study). The study found that the individuals' self-reported religious orientation was positively correlated with their perceiving themselves to have greater EI. While the number of religious group activities was positively associated with perceived EI, number of years of church attendance was unrelated. Significant positive correlations were also found between level of religious commitment and perceived EI. Thus, the Christian volunteers were more likely to consider themselves emotionally intelligent if they spent more time in group activities and had more commitment to their beliefs.
Tischler, Biberman and McKeage warn that there is still ambiguity in the above concepts. In their 2002 article, entitled “Linking emotional intelligence, spirituality and workplace performance: Definitions, models and ideas for research”, they reviewed literature on both EI and various aspect of spirituality. They found that both EI and spirituality appear to lead to similar attitudes, behaviors and skills, and that there often seems to be confusion, intersection and linking between the two constructs.
In one analysis of World Values Survey data, noted that in 65 former socialist countries "there is a negative relationship between years of education and belief in God", with similar negative correlations for other religious beliefs while, in contrast, there were strong positive correlations in many developed countries such as England, France and the US. They concluded that "these cross-country differences in the education-belief relationship can be explained by political factors (such as communism) which lead some countries to use state controlled education to discredit religion". The study also concludes that, in the United States and other developed nations, "education raises religious attendance at individual level," while "at the same time, there is a strong negative connection between attendance and education across religious groups within the U.S. and elsewhere." The authors suggest that "this puzzle is explained if education both increases the returns to social connection and reduces the extent of religious belief," causing more educated individuals to sort into less fervent denominations. Another cross-national study notes a similar trend in the United States. 
This correlation between highly educated people having high levels of religious behaviour in Western nations is supported by other studies: in Australia, 23% of Christian church attenders have earned a university or postgraduate degree, whereas the figure for the general population is 13%. Commentators on the survey attribute the educational levels to sociological factors, such as age, class and income, making no claims about intelligence. Other research notes that religious groups in America normally have significant levels of education compared to the nonreligious. Furthermore, research on American post graduates indicates they have a similar religious distribution to the general population meaning that there is no dominant "atheistic naturalism" among the elites.  Other investigations have noted that recent trends in research indicate that that students in college are slightly more religious than people who do not go to college.  Similarly, studies of Mormons in the US show that Mormons with higher education attend church more regularly than uneducated Mormons. Survey research indicated that 41% of Mormons with only elementary school education attend church regularly, compared to 76% of Mormon college graduates and 78% of Mormons who went beyond their college degrees to do graduate study attending church regularly.
Edward Dutton studied findings which indicate that universities which are particularly transitional and prestigious tend to have (in contrast to less transitional universities), tightly differentiated and ‘fundamentalist’ student evangelical groups and higher levels of conversion while at university. He argued that Oxford University students are likely to be not just more intelligent in IQ terms than comparable students but more creative, more original in their thinking and more able to acquire knowledge- factors Dutton found made religious experience more likely in an individual. In 1975, Norman Poythress studied a sample of 234 US college undergraduates, grouping them into relatively homogeneous religious types based on the similarity of their religious beliefs, and compared their personality characteristics. He found that "Literally-oriented religious Believers did not differ significantly from Mythologically-oriented Believers on measures of intelligence, authoritarianism, or racial prejudice. Religious Believers as a group were found to be significantly less intelligent and more authoritarian than religious Skeptics." He used SAT as a measure of intelligence for this study.
A weak negative correlation between education and Christian fundamentalism was found by Burton et al. (1989), a small study comparing the religious beliefs and educational achievements of white, Protestant residents of Delaware County, Indiana. Contrary to the researchers' expectations, fundamentalist converts were not less educated people.
Sociologist Jennifer Glanville has published studies suggesting that church attendance for children correlates with higher GPAs as teenagers. The correlations is a slightly better predictor than both parents having college degrees. Glanville also explains that, "Surprisingly, the importance of religion to teens had very little impact on their educational outcomes... That suggests that the act of attending church – the structure and the social aspects associated with it – could be more important to educational outcomes than the actual religion." Glanville believes that students who go to church are more likely to have other things that lead to better GPAs, regardless of religious views, including more pro-active adults in their lives and more contact with peers who have similar values.
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