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Genes contribute to religious inclination

By deepsand ·
Genes contribute to religious inclination
17:38 16 March 2005 news service
Maggie McKee
Genes may help determine how religious a person is, suggests a new study of US twins. And the effects of a religious upbringing may fade with time.

Until about 25 years ago, scientists assumed that religious behaviour was simply the product of a person's socialisation - or "nurture". But more recent studies, including those on adult twins who were raised apart, suggest genes contribute about 40% of the variability in a person's religiousness.

But it is not clear how that contribution changes with age. A few studies on children and teenagers - with biological or adoptive parents - show the children tend to mirror the religious beliefs and behaviours of the parents with whom they live. That suggests genes play a small role in religiousness at that age.

Now, researchers led by Laura Koenig, a psychology graduate student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, US, have tried to tease apart how the effects of nature and nurture vary with time. Their study suggests that as adolescents grow into adults, genetic factors become more important in determining how religious a person is, while environmental factors wane.

Religious discussions
The team gave questionnaires to 169 pairs of identical twins - 100% genetically identical - and 104 pairs of fraternal twins - 50% genetically identical - born in Minnesota.

The twins, all male and in their early 30s, were asked how often they currently went to religious services, prayed, and discussed religious teachings. This was compared with when they were growing up and living with their families. Then, each participant answered the same questions regarding their mother, father, and their twin.

The twins believed that when they were younger, all of their family members - including themselves - shared similar religious behaviour. But in adulthood, however, only the identical twins reported maintaining that similarity. In contrast, fraternal twins were about a third less similar than they were as children.

"That would suggest genetic factors are becoming more important and growing up together less important," says team member Matt McGue, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota.

Empty nests
Michael McCullough, a psychologist at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, US, agrees. "To a great extent, you can't be who you are when you're living under your parents' roof. But once you leave the nest, you can begin to let your own preferences and dispositions shape your behaviour," he told New Scientist.

"Maybe, ultimately, we all decide what we're most comfortable with, and it may have more to do with our own makeup than how we were treated when we were adolescents," says McGue.

About a dozen studies have shown that religious people tend to share other personality traits, although it is not clear whether these arise from genetic or environmental factors. These include the ability to get along well with others and being conscientious, working hard, being punctual, and controlling one's impulses.

But McGue says the new work suggests that being raised in a religious household may affect a person's long-term psychological state less than previously thought. But he says the influence from this early socialisation may re-emerge later on, when the twins have families of their own. He also points out that the finding may not be universal because the research focused on a single population of US men.

Journal reference: Journal of Personality (vol 73, p 471)

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Psychology, University of Minnesota

Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami

Journal of Personality

Printed on Fri Mar 18 03:33:03 GMT 2005

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Wrong Forum

by Roger99a In reply to Genes contribute to relig ...

I couldn't help myself. sorry

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by deepsand In reply to Wrong Forum

If I've brought a smile to your face, my day's work is done.

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so to translate..

by Jaqui In reply to Cool.

the article:
religious fundies are genetically disposed to blind stupidity?

( I'm talking the extreme closed minded ones that cause particular religions to get bad press, the tv evangelists preaching hatred )

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Quite possibly so.

by deepsand In reply to so to translate..

And, if so, it would follow that they are not likely to be rehabiliated using currently known acceptable methods of treatment.

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Re: rehabilitation!! Do you mean a 2 X 4 upside the head???

by sleepin'dawg In reply to Quite possibly so.

Works for me even if it's a tad extreme. :^O

Dawg. ]:)

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by Jaqui In reply to Re: rehabilitation!! Do y ...

not extreme enough.

try strapping bare steel cage over the genitals, with starving vole in it, them on a platform over 3 vats
vat 1 ) sufuric acid

vat 2 ) hydrochloric Acid

vat 3 ) iodine

whole assembly outside in mid-winter in the arctic, spray vole with water and watch the fun.

oops ~blush~
is my sadistic nature showing?

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The SPCA objects.

by deepsand In reply to naw...

And, what have you got against voles?

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But the voles wouldn't be able to get to it...

by Jessie In reply to naw...

I mean, come on, this'd have to be in the heat of summer, giving the vole something to go after... I know what happens to male genitals when they get cold...

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by Jessie In reply to naw...

Most religious fanatics are over-the-top homophobes... so put them IN a cage with a large gay person who hasn't had any in a LONG time... probably need to pull the fanatics teeth first, wouldn't want our friendly flamer getting bitten.

THEN have a nice religious ceremony where the two are pronounced husband and husband, in Massachusetts, so it's all nice and legal.

A former co-worker of mine, tried to tell me that according to the bible, if you have sex with someone, that means you're married... even if the sex is non-consensual as between a 6 year old child and a pedophile. HIM, I'd like to see raped by a LARGE well HUNG sadist.

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No need for gays.

by deepsand In reply to naw...

Just send them to Attica; preferably Cell Block B.

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