On the nature of implicit soul beliefs: When the past weighs more than the present

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Abstract

Intuitive childhood beliefs in dualism may lay the foundation for implicit soul and afterlife beliefs, which may diverge from explicit beliefs formed later in adulthood. Brief Implicit Association Tests were developed to investigate the relation of implicit soul and afterlife beliefs to childhood and current beliefs. Early but not current beliefs covaried with implicit beliefs. Results demonstrated greater discrepancies in current than in childhood soul and afterlife beliefs among religious groups, and no differences in implicit beliefs. These findings suggest that implicit soul and afterlife beliefs diverge from current self-reported beliefs, stemming instead from childhood beliefs.

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