Negative attitudes towards atheists are hardly a new trend in our society. However, given the pervasiveness of the prejudices and the lack of foundation for them, it seems warranted to explore the underlying elements of these attitudes. Identifying these constitutive elements may help pick apart the different contributing factors and perhaps mitigate or at least understand them in the future. The present study was designed to identify which myths or stereotypes about atheists are most influential in these attitudes. A Lexical Decision Task was utilized to identify which words related to popular stereotypes are most related to the label atheists. The labels Atheists, Christians, and Students were compared to positive words, negatives words, words or interests, neutral words, and non-word strings. Analyses revealed no significant differences among the participants' reaction times in these various comparisons, regardless of religion, level of belief in god, level of spirituality, or being acquainted with atheists. Possible explanations for these results are discussed in this thesis.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Najle, Maxine, "Atheists, devils, and communists cognitive mapping of attitudes and stereotypes of atheists" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1779.