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Differences in Mental Images of Believers and Atheists

Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi, Stephanie McKee, and Will Gervais: Consistent with our hypothesis, the average theist image was rated as more trustworthy and religious than the average atheist image. And, generally speaking, the average theist image was associated with more positive attributes (e.g., moral, competent, warm, likeable, etc.) than the average atheist image. Further, participants believed that the pictured person in the average atheist image was more likely to behave immorally (e.g., kick a dog for no reason), than the pictured person in the average theist image. Together this suggests that mental images of theists are associated with more positive attributes than images of atheists, and these mental images influence perceptions of potential moral and immoral conduct.

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