Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Bruce Hunsberger

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study investigated the extent to which pro and antireligious individuals responded objectively and critically to religious and nonreligious material. Proreligious (n=72) and antireligious (n=72) individuals, as determined by Fullerton and Hunsberger’s (1982) Christian Orthodoxy Scale, were selected from 507 introductory psychology students. They judged the logical soundness of 30 syllogisms (10 proreligious, 10 antireligious, and 10 neutral) following a priming task (critical, religious, or neutral). Prior to the analysis of the syllogisms, half of the subjects were given logic training, while the other half did not receive any instruction in logic. Dependent variables included critical ability (i.e., the number of neutral syllogisms correctly answered), number of pro and antireligious syllogism answered correctly, and religious bias scores (the number of proreligious syllogisms marked sound plus number of antireligious syllogisms marked unsound). Results indicated that there was no substantial link between religiosity and logic analyses. There was some evidence that logic instruction did aid in improving subjects’ critical ability scores, and decreasing the effect of religious bias. Unexpectedly, the critical priming questionnaire was not related to improved performance on syllogistic judgements. There were indications that the religious priming questionnaire did bias subjects’ responses, but respondents receiving neutral questionnaire performed better than the other two priming conditions. It is suggested that the relationship between religious attitudes and logical syllogistic analysis is a complex interactive one, rather than a simple linear relationship.

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