Being raised in a religious household can make you more likely to believe impossible things are true, according to a new study published in Cognitive Science.
Researchers asked 66 five- and six-year-old children whether characters in several types of stories were "real people."
In realistic stories that included only plausible events and settings, all children from all backgrounds thought the characters were "real."
In stories that featured magical elements, like "invisible sails" or "a sword that protects you from danger every time," children who went to church or religious schools were more likely to believe that the characters were "real people." Children with no exposure to religion were more likely to say characters in magical stories were "not real people."
"The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories," write the researchers.
The researchers concluded that "religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations."
Via Cognitive Science.