August 30, 2015

5 Dimensions of belief systems

Gerard Saucier of the university of Oregon has done research into belief systems of people. Belief systems are important because they guide people's behaviors and thereby influence their development and the circumstances in which they will find themselves. Saucier has created insight into what kind of belief systems there are. He did this using factor analysis. Through factor analysis it is possible to reduce a large number of variables to a more limited number of variables (factors; read more). Saucier found out that the degree to which people vary in their beliefs can be describes using the following 5 dimensions (Saucier, 2013).
  1. Tradition-oriented religiousness: the degree to which someone beliefs in the big theological systems such as christianity and islam.
  2. Subjective spirituality: the degree to which someone beliefs in non-material phenomena such as spirits, astrology, and the paranormal.
  3. Unmitigated self-interest: the degree to which one beliefs that hedonism is a source of value and goodness in life.
  4. Communal rationalism: the degree to which one beliefs in the importance of common institutions and reason.
  5. Inequality-aversion: the degree to which one rejects societal inequality.
Below, you can find more elaborate descriptions of what falls under these dimensions. By the way, it is important to note that the existence of these dimensions says nothing about the malleability of beliefs.

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