New research by the universities of Oxford and Coventry has quashed the idea that religious people are ‘born believers’.  Instead, it is now thought that factors including upbringing and socio-cultural processes are more likely to influence whether a person is a religious believer. The study, conducted by academics from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science and neuroscientists and philosophers at Oxford University, included tests on pilgrims taking part in the famous Camino de

Santiago pilgrimage and a brain stimulation experiment. It found no link between intuitive or analytical thinking and supernatural beliefs, despite previous studies suggesting that those who hold strong religious beliefs are more intuitive and less analytical. The study was published in Scientific Reports and is among the first to challenge a growing trend among cognitive psychologists that has attempted to show that believing in the supernatural is something that comes to us ‘naturally’ or intuitively. MORE