Dimensional Structure of and Variation in Anthropomorphic Concepts of God

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This article describes a study assessing 341 individuals' attributions of anthropomorphic properties to God in three domains (psychological, biological, and physical), their religious beliefs, and their engagement in religious practices.

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16 p.

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Shaman, Nicholas J.; Saide, Anondah R. & Richert, Rebekah A. August 10, 2018.

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This article describes a study assessing 341 individuals' attributions of anthropomorphic properties to God in three domains (psychological, biological, and physical), their religious beliefs, and their engagement in religious practices.

Physical Description

16 p.

Notes

Abstract: When considering other persons, the human mind draws from folk theories of biology,
physics, and psychology. Studies have examined the extent to which people utilize
these folk theories in inferring whether or not God has human-like biological, physical,
and psychological constraints. However, few studies have examined the way in which
these folk attributions relate to each other, the extent to which attributions within a
domain are consistent, or whether cultural factors influence human-like attributions
within and across domains. The present study assessed 341 individuals’ attributions
of anthropomorphic properties to God in three domains (psychological, biological,
and physical), their religious beliefs, and their engagement in religious practices.
Three Confirmatory Factor Analyses tested hypothetical models of the underlying
structure of an anthropomorphic concept of God. The best fitting model was the
“Hierarchical Dimensions Concept,” the analyses indicated one overall dimension of
anthropomorphism with three sub-domains. Additionally, participants’ religiosity was
negatively related to attributing human-like psychological properties to God, suggesting
that the more people engage with their religion, the less they think about God as having
a ‘human-like’ mind. Religiosity was positively related to individual consistency scores in
the biological domain. In other words, greater religiosity was related to less consistent
answers about God’s biological properties. As a result, the findings of the current study
also suggest that individuals do not just vary between each other in how much they
anthropomorphize God, but additionally, variation exists in the type of anthropomorphic
reasoning used within an individual person’s concept of God.

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  • Frontiers in Psychology, 2018. Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Research Foundation

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  • Publication Title: Frontiers in Psychology
  • Volume: 9
  • Page Start: 1
  • Page End: 16
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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Creation Date

  • August 10, 2018

Submitted Date

  • April 21, 2018

Accepted Date

  • July 20, 2018

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 24, 2018, 1:56 p.m.

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Shaman, Nicholas J.; Saide, Anondah R. & Richert, Rebekah A. Dimensional Structure of and Variation in Anthropomorphic Concepts of God, article, August 10, 2018; Lausanne, Switzerland. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1248344/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Education.