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Biased due to Disbelief in the Evolution Theory

(People who deny evolution tend to be more biased)

Here in this post, we are discussing and learning about “Biased due to Disbelief in the Evolution Theory”.  You can read more about psychology-related material on our website. Keep visiting Psychology Roots.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, those who believe in human evolution are likely to have lower levels of discrimination than those who don’t. Disbelief in evolution predicts racism and prejudice across cultures and continents, according to the findings of this research.
Stylianos Syropoulos, a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, stated, “I have been interested in human-animal connections for a long time now.

Biased due to Disbelief in the Evolution Theory
Biased due to Disbelief in the Evolution Theory
In college, I conducted my first research on the topic, looking into how and why individuals extend their moral spheres to include or exclude animals or humans. During my time in graduate school, I got interested in the study of intergroup conflict and violence and entered the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program.”
For further information on non-conflict-specific treatments to prevent conflict, Syropoulos said, “I just came across a beautiful review piece by Vezzali and colleagues.” This allows them to concentrate on an unrelated psychological event, which in this instance was their belief in evolution.”
For this study, researchers used data from the General Social Survey and the Pew Research Center to evaluate the link between people’s acceptance of evolution and their discriminatory opinions.
Human evolution has been measured in the General Social Survey, a ten-year study of the general population in the United States. According to an examination of 8,963 individuals’ replies, believing that humans descended from animals was linked to less prejudice, less racism, and less support for discriminatory conduct. Even after adjusting for factors such as education level, religious beliefs, political views, family income, and gender, the results were the same.
Data from 21,827 Christians in 19 Eastern European countries was also analyzed by the researchers thanks to the Pew Research Center. If “Humans and other living things have developed throughout time,” or “Humans and other living things have been in their current form from the beginning of time,” Pew questioned the participants in their survey. The researchers discovered that those who deny that humans have evolved are less accepting of outgroups like Roma and Catholics, even after adjusting for factors like education, religious significance, age, and gender.
Next, Syropoulos and his colleagues examined data from the Pew Research Center, which included 28,004 Muslim respondents from 25 countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. According to their findings, those who don’t believe in evolution are less likely to tolerate Christians and are more likely to be friends with Muslims. Analysis of 3,562 Israeli participants’ replies indicated that disbelief in evolution was linked to support for Jewish preferential treatment, a decrease in support for Israeli-Palestinian peace, and an increase in the expulsion of Arabs.
The research carried out by Syropoulos and his colleagues was also their own work.
Disbelief in evolution was linked to antipathy against Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, and Panemistan, according to an online survey of 499 Americans recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing program (a fictitious country). There was a modest correlation between belief in human evolution and the notion that one’s self is akin to an animal, but the researchers concluded that these two constructs are “psychometrically distinct conceptions,” which they describe as “theoretically significant.”
There was a “consistent pattern” of results regardless of cultural, religious or national settings “for the majority as well as for the minority,” Syropoulos said in a statement to PsyPost. Correlational results suggest that we cannot establish a causal explanation for this association, but this relationship was stable and remained significant even after controlling for crucial psychological characteristics like ideology or religion.”
As a result of theories like Social Identity Theory (which holds that people who believe in evolution believe that they are all descended from a common ancestor) and Terror Management Theory (which holds that people who believe in evolution are less defensive of their cultural worldviews and more accepting of others), we believe this connection makes sense.
The term “survival of the fittest,” used to characterize the process of natural selection, has been utilized by some to justify racism and other types of discrimination based on Darwin’s theory of evolution, according to the study.
Co-author Bernhard Leidner said in a press release that the findings were exciting because “there have been theoretical accounts that predict the opposite of what we found,” so it was exciting to show that “the opposite is true, that the opposite is true and that belief in evolution seems to have pretty positive effects,” he added.
The correlational structure of the data hindered the researchers from drawing causal statements regarding the association between skepticism about evolution and prejudiced views, despite the use of globally representative data. Finally, Syropoulos and his colleagues ran a research on 1,279 Americans to see whether they could change their beliefs on human evolution scientifically.
Before completing measures of biased attitudes, participants were randomly allocated to read about the origin of people from animals, read about the evolution of cash from coins to paper notes, or read nothing.
Prejudice did not decrease as a direct result of learning about evolution. Because participants’ self-reported views in human evolution changed as a result of the manipulation, bias was reduced. Although the researchers found no indication that the manipulation was successful, data suggests that for those who were persuaded by it, bias was lessened.
According to Syropoulos, “it’s not simple to convince everyone that evolution is a fact because of their educational and theological backgrounds.” –PsyPost. “More investigation in that direction is necessary.”
Dr. Bernhard Leidner, from UMass Amherst; Dr. Jeff Greenberg and Dylan Horner, from the University of Arizona; and Dr. Uri Lifshin, from Reichman University in Israel, collaborated on this effort” (who is a joint first author on the paper). ‘This assertion will be further validated by further research on the similarities between humans and animals,’ adds Syropoulos.

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Reference

Syropoulos, S., Lifshin, U., Greenberg, J., Horner, D. E., & Leidner, B. (2022). Bigotry and the human-animal divide: (Dis)belief in human evolution and bigoted attitudes across different cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000391

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Jayme Silvestri

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