Categories: Research News Posted by kitchens on 3/28/2011 11:18 AM | Comments (0)
Recent work from my lab is on Yahoo News
Washington, Mar 27 (ANI): A new research suggests that religious experiences will subconsciously affect the way that individuals consume news about religion and spirituality.

Michael Kitchens, assistant professor of psychology at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Philadelphia, and his co-authors hypothesized that participants who had self-described high comfort with their religion and low reported strain would be more apt to gravitate toward positive news about Christianity.

While those with low comfort and high strain were more apt to want to read about stories that were biased against Christianity, respondents with both high comfort and high stain had the highest preference for positive news stories about Christianity.

"This is someone that is on the tipping point in their religious experience; on one hand they feel a lot of strain with their religion, but they also can be comforted by it," said Kitchens.

"Those that favor negative news about Christianity report high strain and low comfort with their religion. This is not surprising, except that this group is overwhelmingly biased toward this kind of news," said Kitchens.

In order to group individuals into four different camps, Kitchens asked questions about strain and comfort in one's religion.

Religious comfort items measure the degree to which one feels loved by God and forgiven of their sins, for example. Religious strain measures the degree to which one feels fear and guilt, alienated from God, and rifts with others over religious beliefs.

"The general consensus is that we look at information that confirms our own belief. We want to consume news stories that affirm our beliefs and we'll ignore the ones that don't," said Kitchens.

The full article will be published this spring in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. (ANI)

Reports on this work can be found elsewhere, as well.