Assistant Professor of Psychology Ravi Thiruchselvam was the co-author of an article published in Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (SCAN), a leading journal in human neuroscience.
“In God we trust? Neural measures reveal lower social conformity among non-religious individuals” is based on a study conducted with his co-authors Yashoda Gopi ’16, Leonard Kilekwang ’16 and Jessica Harper ’15. James Gross of Stanford University is also a co-author.
The article explores why some people are religious and others are not. The research focuses on one possible reason – how sensitive a person is to social influence, in particular, how much he or she values other people’s opinions when forming personal views.
The study examined the idea that religious and non-religious people differ in the weight they place on other people’s opinions. The researchers found that when forming personal views, the brain responses of non-religious individuals were less affected by what their peers believe.
Thiruchselvam said the findings highlight a novel link between religiosity and social influence.