Presentation Title

The Benefits of Religious Fundamentalism

Location

Atrium

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Humanities & Social Sciences - Psychology, Sociology & Political Science

Co-Presenters, Co- Authors, Co-Researchers, Mentors, or Faculty Advisors

Dr. Michael Nielsen

Abstract

Though there has been a lot of research on religious fundamentalism due to its continued national and global relevance, this previous research pertains mostly to fundamentalism and its correlation with prejudice and authoritarianism. While these findings are important, they bias our scholarly understanding of the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism and indicate that there is a need for new types of research analysis pertaining to this subject. Our current research project is our solution to this gap in the literature. The current study is an attempt to empirically analyze the potential benefits of religious fundamentalism so as to contribute a new understanding of the subject to the existing literature. We derived our proposed experimental methodology from the work of an experimental social psychologist but modified it for work with religious identification rather than political identification. For the current study, the participants in the control condition are given an unmodified measure of religious fundamentalism whereas participants in the experimental condition are given a modified measure of religious fundamentalism that is meant to make the participant perceive themselves as being more fundamentalist. Afterward, participants in both conditions then complete a measure of hope, measures of spiritual well-being and spiritual anxiety, and measures of self-perception. These dependent variables were selected after a thorough review of previous research studies. As previous research studies have shown the relationships between religion and well-being and religious fundamentalism and optimism, we hypothesized that participants in our experimental condition would have higher scores on measures of hope and spiritual well-being, which includes a religious well-being sub-scale and an existential well-being sub-scale, than participants in our control condition. As other studies have demonstrated that religious fundamentalism is an effective buffer against existential anxiety and that religious fundamentalists experience fewer religious doubts than non-fundamentalists, we hypothesized that participants in our experimental condition would score lower on the measure of spiritual anxiety, which includes a religious anxiety sub-scale and an existential anxiety sub-scale, than participants in our control condition. As self-perception has not previously been assessed in conjunction with religious fundamentalism, we hypothesized that there would be a non-directional difference between groups for the of self-perception, which includes a self-esteem sub-scale and a self-competence sub-scale We are currently in the process of gathering data to test our research hypotheses with statistical analysis being concluded towards the end of the semester before the conference. Preliminary hypothesis testing has shown that the participants in the experimental condition (M=2.84 SD= 1.11) were significantly lower in religious doubts than those in the control condition (M=3.59 SD= 1.16), t(78) = 2.95, p

Keywords

Religion, Psychology, Fundamentalism, Psychological well-being

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-24-2015 10:45 AM

End Date

4-24-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 24th, 10:45 AM Apr 24th, 12:00 PM

The Benefits of Religious Fundamentalism

Atrium

Though there has been a lot of research on religious fundamentalism due to its continued national and global relevance, this previous research pertains mostly to fundamentalism and its correlation with prejudice and authoritarianism. While these findings are important, they bias our scholarly understanding of the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism and indicate that there is a need for new types of research analysis pertaining to this subject. Our current research project is our solution to this gap in the literature. The current study is an attempt to empirically analyze the potential benefits of religious fundamentalism so as to contribute a new understanding of the subject to the existing literature. We derived our proposed experimental methodology from the work of an experimental social psychologist but modified it for work with religious identification rather than political identification. For the current study, the participants in the control condition are given an unmodified measure of religious fundamentalism whereas participants in the experimental condition are given a modified measure of religious fundamentalism that is meant to make the participant perceive themselves as being more fundamentalist. Afterward, participants in both conditions then complete a measure of hope, measures of spiritual well-being and spiritual anxiety, and measures of self-perception. These dependent variables were selected after a thorough review of previous research studies. As previous research studies have shown the relationships between religion and well-being and religious fundamentalism and optimism, we hypothesized that participants in our experimental condition would have higher scores on measures of hope and spiritual well-being, which includes a religious well-being sub-scale and an existential well-being sub-scale, than participants in our control condition. As other studies have demonstrated that religious fundamentalism is an effective buffer against existential anxiety and that religious fundamentalists experience fewer religious doubts than non-fundamentalists, we hypothesized that participants in our experimental condition would score lower on the measure of spiritual anxiety, which includes a religious anxiety sub-scale and an existential anxiety sub-scale, than participants in our control condition. As self-perception has not previously been assessed in conjunction with religious fundamentalism, we hypothesized that there would be a non-directional difference between groups for the of self-perception, which includes a self-esteem sub-scale and a self-competence sub-scale We are currently in the process of gathering data to test our research hypotheses with statistical analysis being concluded towards the end of the semester before the conference. Preliminary hypothesis testing has shown that the participants in the experimental condition (M=2.84 SD= 1.11) were significantly lower in religious doubts than those in the control condition (M=3.59 SD= 1.16), t(78) = 2.95, p