Author

Matthew Kirby

Date of Award:

12-2008

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gretchen Gimpel Peacock

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between critical thinking and religious schema as represented by religious orientation. Past research has included religious belief within the larger construct of paranormal belief, and demonstrated a correlation between high levels of paranormal belief and poor critical thinking skills. Studies in the psychology of religion suggested that a more complex religious measure based on religious orientation was necessary to understand these correlations. Additionally, schema theory offered a cognitive framework within which to experimentally test the cause of these correlations. This study found that primed religious schema did not account for the relationship between paranormal/religious belief and critical thinking skills. This study did find that poor critical thinking performance was predicted by higher levels of extrinsic religious orientation.

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