So thinking about this athletic ability/strategic intelligence test I’ve been pondering what other tests would show.
A test for atheists and theists, for instance. A test in which the subjects would be told “this tests your generosity” – or warmth or empathy or compassion or altruism or kindness. I wonder if the theists would be primed to do better while the atheists would be primed to do worse.
That would be my guess, at least. I bet I have that stereotype. Do I also consciously believe it? Yes, maybe. I at least believe it’s possible.
I don’t think theists have a better metaethics than atheists; I think the reverse. But I think they might have a better motivation…depending on what kind of god they believe in. The god that a lot of people believe in is really quite nasty, and I don’t think that god motivates much extra kindness or generosity. Nevertheless “God” is supposed to be super-good, and people who both believe that and have a sane idea of what “good” means might well be motivated to try to live up to a god of that kind. That could be enough of an extra prod that they would actually be on average a few points more generous.
What if there were a test in which subjects were told it was testing their rationality? That one is more enigmatic to me, because I don’t know which stereotype believers would buy into – ours or theirs.
Or a test in which they were told it was testing for innate scientific ability? I bet that one would skew the other way – believers doing worse, atheists doing better. I’m just guessing. Social psychology is interesting though, no question.