What do Different Beliefs Tell us? An Examination of Factual, Opinion-Based, and Religious Beliefs.Cogn Dev. 2014 Apr 01; 30(April - June 2014):15-29.CD
Children and adults differentiate statements of religious belief from statements of fact and opinion, but the basis of that differentiation remains unclear. Across three experiments, adults and 8-10-year-old children heard statements of factual, opinion-based, and religious belief. Adults and children judged that statements of factual belief revealed more about the world, statements of opinion revealed more about individuals, and statements of religious belief provided information about both. Children-unlike adults-judged that statements of religious belief revealed more about the world than the believer. These results led to three conclusions. First, judgments concerning the relative amount of information statements of religious belief provide about individuals change across development, perhaps because adults have more experience with diversity. Second, recognizing that statements of religious belief provide information about both the world and the believer does not require protracted learning. Third, statements of religious belief are interpreted as amalgams of factual and opinion-based statements.