Title

Aspects of Fundamental Religiosity and Stereotype Acceptance

Presenter Information

Emily Steinberg

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Baseless stereotypes in our everyday interactions are persistent and troubling, especially when directed against economically disadvantaged groups. Past research has identified a relationship between fundamental and or conservative religious beliefs and the acceptance of stereotypes. The research community does not know however what practices or aspects of these types of religions correlate with stereotype acceptance. This study was designed to look at three dimensions of fundamental religiosity: frequency of prayer, political orientation, and an individual’s perception of their own spirituality to find out if there is any relationship between these different dimensions and the acceptance of stereotypes towards one such group, Native Americans. College students from the University of Montana took part in a study in which they were asked to give personal information about themselves regarding their religiosity and religious background. After working on a cooperative task with a (fictitious) Native American partner, participants were asked questions about their perceptions of Native Americans, including commonly held stereotypes, perceptions of economic inequalities, and guilt over inequality. I found that frequency of prayer had a weak negative relationship to perceptions of stereotypes. Political orientation and self-perception of spirituality had negligible relationships with stereotype acceptance. I suggest that prayer and spirituality measure very different aspects of religious beliefs. This is the first known sociological study to examine the relationship between religiosity and perceptions of Native Americans. Not only are the results valuable to sociologists interested in combating stereotypes, but also to religious groups striving to teach acceptance and diversity.

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Apr 13th, 11:00 AM Apr 13th, 12:00 PM

Aspects of Fundamental Religiosity and Stereotype Acceptance

UC Ballroom

Baseless stereotypes in our everyday interactions are persistent and troubling, especially when directed against economically disadvantaged groups. Past research has identified a relationship between fundamental and or conservative religious beliefs and the acceptance of stereotypes. The research community does not know however what practices or aspects of these types of religions correlate with stereotype acceptance. This study was designed to look at three dimensions of fundamental religiosity: frequency of prayer, political orientation, and an individual’s perception of their own spirituality to find out if there is any relationship between these different dimensions and the acceptance of stereotypes towards one such group, Native Americans. College students from the University of Montana took part in a study in which they were asked to give personal information about themselves regarding their religiosity and religious background. After working on a cooperative task with a (fictitious) Native American partner, participants were asked questions about their perceptions of Native Americans, including commonly held stereotypes, perceptions of economic inequalities, and guilt over inequality. I found that frequency of prayer had a weak negative relationship to perceptions of stereotypes. Political orientation and self-perception of spirituality had negligible relationships with stereotype acceptance. I suggest that prayer and spirituality measure very different aspects of religious beliefs. This is the first known sociological study to examine the relationship between religiosity and perceptions of Native Americans. Not only are the results valuable to sociologists interested in combating stereotypes, but also to religious groups striving to teach acceptance and diversity.