Analytic Thinking Reduces Anti-Atheist Bias in Voting Intentions

Andrew S. Franks, Kyle C. Scherr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated that priming analytic thinking reduces adherence to religious ideas. The current studies examined whether analytic thinking primes can also increase acceptance of secular ideas and ameliorate anti-atheist prejudice. In Study 1, participants who were primed to think analytically demonstrated less anti-atheist prejudice (operationalized as willingness to vote for an atheist) and increased levels of agreement with secular ideas. Mediation analyses indicated that the ability of an analytic prime to reduce anti-atheist prejudice and facilitate agreement with secular ideas was related to increases in analytic thinking (operationalized as performance on the Cognitive Reflections Test). Study 2 extended the findings of the first study and demonstrated that, among a sample of young adults, higher levels of analytic thinking predicted decreased anti-atheist prejudice in the context of voting intentions in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Basic and applied implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for the Psychology of Religion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


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