Numerous studies have found a negative relationship between religiousness and IQ. It is in the region of − 0.2, according to meta-analyses. The reasons for this relationship are, however, unknown. It has been suggested that higher intelligence leads to greater attraction to science, or that it helps to override evolved cognitive dispositions such as for religiousness. Either way, such explanations assume that the religion–IQ nexus is on general intelligence (g), rather than some subset of specialized cognitive abilities. In other words, they assume it is a Jensen effect. Two large datasets comparing groups with different levels of religiousness show that their IQ differences are not on g and must, therefore, be attributed to specialized abilities. An analysis of the specialized abilities on which the religious and non-religious groups differ reveals no clear pattern. We cautiously suggest that this may be explicable in terms of autism spectrum disorder traits among people with high IQ scores, because such traits are negatively associated with religiousness.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Autism spectrum disorder, Intelligence, IQ, Jensen effect, Religion
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-019-00926-3, hdl.handle.net/1765/120989
Journal Journal of Religion and Health
Citation
Dutton, E, te Nijenhuis, J, Metzen, D. (Daniel), van der Linden, D, & Madison, G. (2019). The Myth of the Stupid Believer: The Negative Religiousness–IQ Nexus is Not on General Intelligence (g) and is Likely a Product of the Relations Between IQ and Autism Spectrum Traits. Journal of Religion and Health. doi:10.1007/s10943-019-00926-3