Would You Like to Live Forever?
Mark Travers: The researchers recruited a sample of 1,021 undergraduates and measured attitudes toward life extension, religion, and science. Again, they replicated the finding that men are more likely to endorse indefinite life extension. As expected, men also professed more positive attitudes toward science while women exhibited higher levels of religiosity. Critical to their hypothesis, the researchers then tested whether beliefs regarding science and religion might be producing the gender difference in attitudes toward indefinite life extension. Indeed, they found this to be the case. Using a statistical technique known as mediation analysis, the researchers showed that attitudes toward both science and religion were implicated in defining participants’ attitudes toward indefinite life extension; more favorable attitudes towards science enhanced support for life extension while strong religious attitudes diminished it. They note, however, that the effect was strongest for science-related attitudes.