Christians find it harder than atheists to recognise their own faces

This is an odd one.

Tom Rees is reporting on research carried out in China which indicates atheists are quicker at recognising their own face.

The research also revealed Christians feel less positive about themselves than atheists do.

….the relatively low opinion Christians had of themselves was linked to their relatively tardy reactions on the self recognition test.

Both atheists and Christians had equally positive feelings about their friends.

There are some caveats to this research, but is intriguing nonetheless.

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9 Responses to “Christians find it harder than atheists to recognise their own faces”

  1. Goy Says:

    In hoc signo vinces†

    “Calvinists seem to be ulta-individualistic compared with both atheists and Roman Catholics, for example.”

    That makes sense as a root of ultraliberalism that is the (supra-) individualism of the right in progression with the collective one of the left.

  2. Tim Says:

    They only used ten pairs of each? Not enough in my opinion. But they said what I had already thought, that atheists had a big opinion of themselves and therefore recognised themselves far more quickly. Probably because they spent more time looking in the mirror and at photos of themselves in self-adulation at how brilliant they perceive themselves to be.

  3. webmaster Says:

    I was thinking Tim, that how positive you feel about yourself is in some ways dependent on who you are comparing yourself to, or what standards you are comparing yourself to.

    Possibly, Christians expectations of self are higher….

  4. Simon Says:

    Full article, if you want to have a look.

    I tend to agree with Tim that the sample size is very small. Also, according to the article, Christians in China are dominated by Protestant fundamentalists, with a big emphasis on “y’all are sinners” (however you say that in Chinese). It would be interesting to see a larger scale test not done in a country with a slightly less oppressive-to-religions-it-doesn’t-like government.

    Finally, the atheists were faster at recognising their face associated with a positive word versus associated with a negative word by 53ms; the standard deviation was 64ms. That is quite possibly sampling error – at least, one should not draw conclusions about differences between Christians and atheists based on this data.

    Two minor points, webmaster: There’s a typo in the title of this post, and I think your “about me” blurb is now out of date, no?

  5. David Keen Says:

    Telling things apart is a general problem in Christendom, I can’t tell one ancient church building from another, let alone any worship song written in the last 10 years, nor see any difference in the 3,251 different versions of the NIV on the market.

  6. Tim Says:

    “…nor see any difference in the 3,251 different versions of the NIV on the market.”


  7. Simian Says:

    Don’t think this furthers understanding of atheists, but:
    Ma and Han note that previous research has shown that Christian belief and practice that emphasize human sinfulness seems to weaken positive attitudes toward the self, and suspect that this is what their results have shown…
    Guilt is a powerful emotion.

  8. Goy Says:

    In hoc signo vinces†

    Why are the Chinese so interested in Christianity? ;-)

  9. Simian Says:

    To quote from a recent document by the ‘World Policy Institute’:

    While China is the home of diverse and ancient religious traditions, decades of communist rule and the Cultural Revolution weakened the influence of traditional faiths such as Buddhism and Taoism, allowing Christianity to emerge for those seeking spiritual guidance. The government acknowledges 14 million Christians in China, but there are believed to be another 70 million who attend house churches, with more in the countryside than in cities like Beijing. Today, by some estimates, more people attend Sunday church services in China than in Europe.

    Might that explain why? ;-)

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