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Development and Initial Validation of an Implicit Measure of Religiousness-Spirituality

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An implicit measure of religiousness-spirituality (RS) was constructed and used in two studies. In Study 1, undergraduates completed a Religiousness-Spirituality Implicit Association Test (RS-IAT) and several self-report measures of RS and related constructs (e.g., religious fundamentalism, authoritarianism). Informants rated the participants’ RS. The RS-IAT was internally consistent. Implicit RS correlated positively with self-reported RS, spiritual transcendence, spiritual experiences, religious fundamentalism, and intrinsic religiousness. Informant ratings correlated positively with participants’ self-reported religiousness but not implicit RS. In Study 2, implicit RS accounted for unique variability in self-reported attitudes toward gay men and lesbian women when controlling for self-reported religiousness and right-wing authoritarianism. These findings demonstrate that an implicit measure of trait RS explains some variability in attitudes that self-report measures do not. An implicit measure of RS could advance the scientific study of religion beyond what is known from self-report measures.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceBaylor University

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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