Does religious faith improve test performance?

Mara S. Aruguete, Alan K. Goodboy, Daniel H. Mansson, William J. Jenkins, Lynn E. McCutcheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In two related studies we sought to determine if reminding persons of one's religious faith would cue an increase in self-efficacy and perseverance that would lead to better performance on an intellectual task. In experiment one college students were randomly assigned to a group that rilled out a religious orientation scale or one that filled out a distracter scale. Both groups responded to a self-efficacy scale, then, took a logical reasoning test. Results showed that completing the religious orientation scale did not influence self-efficacy, perseverance, or logical reasoning. In experiment two we used a stronger religious cue (prayer). Similar to experiment one, we found no significant differences among those who did or did not pray on either self-efficacy, perseverance, or logical reasoning. Results were discussed from the framework of recent research showing that superstitions "work" by raising task-related selfefficacy, which in turn, leads to greater perseverance and improved performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalNorth American Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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