The devil's advocate: Secular arguments diminish both implicit and explicit religious belief

Azim F. Shariff, Adam Cohen, Ara Norenzayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


The religion-science debate has heated up in recent years, with polemical arguments on both side decrying the other. Given that the dominant view is of religiousness as a relatively fixed personality trait, all of this furor seems excessive. Interested in just how malleable religiousness is, we exposed half of our participants to an argument against the existence of God by Richard Dawkins. Those exposed to Dawkins' arguments showed lower self-reported religiousness, as well as less implicit association between religion and truth. These results demonstrate the flexibility of trait religiousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008



  • Atheism
  • Implicit associations
  • Religiousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies

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