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How Morality and Religiosity Relate to Intelligence: A Case Study of Mathematically Gifted Adolescents

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In this article we explore the moral and religious reasoning of mathematically gifted adolescents (N = 20) who attend a special boarding school for gifted students in Finland. The sample consists of 11 female and 9 male first-year upper secondary school students (Mage = 16.25, SDage = 0.444). The participants' intelligence and their moral and religious reasoning were measured by means of the following instruments: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III (WAIS-III); Defining Issues Test (DIT); and Religious Judgment Test (RJT) respectively. The research design was correlational and included the following three research questions: (1) How is intelligence related to moral thinking? (2) How is intelligence related to religious thinking? (3) How are moral and religious thinking related to each other? Results regarding the first research question showed that moral reasoning was related to intelligence. However, WAIS-III scores were not positively linked to the DIT scores within this highly gifted sample. Results regarding the second research question showed that the most intelligent young adults were more opposed to the lowest and highest forms of religious reasoning than their less intelligent peers. Results regarding the last research question showed that the level of moral thinking was negatively related to both the lowest and the highest stages of religious judgement, but positively related to the third religious orientation stage (ego autonomy and one-sided self-responsibility).

Affiliations: 1: University of Helsinki, Finland; 2: University of Tampere, Finland; 3: Nokia Research Centre, Finland


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