Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do religious people lie?

This blog has shown over and over again that religious people tend to be better-behaved than secular folks. Is this due to a tendency among church attenders to exaggerate, perhaps because they care more about what others think of them?

The Add Health Study asked participants if they never get sad. A fully honest people would not answer that they never get sad. I calculated the percentages of those who agree or strongly agree with the statement (sample size = 3,667, whites only):

Percent agreeing that they never get sad

Never attends 15.1
Less than once a month 12.0
Between once a month and once a month 12.7
Once a week or more 13.3

Those who never go to church have the highest percentage of people not telling the truth, but none of the differences is statistically significant. There is no evidence here that religious people are prone to give socially desirable answers.

2 comments:

Hugo Escalante said...

Muy interesante la informaciĆ³n

Jason Malloy said...

"The Add Health Study asked participants if they never get sad. A fully honest people would not answer that they never get sad."

No. A normal, non-autistic person doesn't answer a question based on the most literal interpretation of a sentence, but on what they believe the question is searching for.

What this question is seemingly getting at is if the person goes through random depressive episodes. Many people do not.

This is why psychological instruments often have many different forms of the same question. Different wording can create different interpretations and responses.