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Psychology of Belief Part 8: Need for Closure

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Uploaded on Nov 11, 2010

Have you ever wondered why people are so prone to "God of the Gaps" thinking?

Here's how it works:

Religious belief is highly correlated with need for cognitive closure. Need for closure is then highly correlated with a propensity for primacy. This means whenever a question comes up that begs for an answer, the natural tendency for such people is to latch on to whatever answer comes along first to fill in the ambiguity. Since "God did it" is such a classic answer to so many deep questions about the universe itself, many people cannot help but use this answer to fill in their questions.

So what's the solution?

Unless you are an expert in whatever cosmic issue is being questioned, learn to feel happy with telling people "I don't know, and neither do you." Even this response can fill the need for closure, but now we're at least being honest. We also leave ourselves much more open to learning the real answer when it is finally presented with honest, academic discipline.

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