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Parents’ Beliefs about Their Influence on Children’s Scientific and Religious Views: Perspectives from Iran, China and the United States

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Assistant Professor, School of Psychology, University of KentCanterbury, KentUK
  • | 2 Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Psychology, Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJUSA
  • | 3 Doctoral Student, Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Boston UniversityBoston, MAUSA
  • | 4 Assistant Professor, Texas State UniversitySan Marcos, TXUSA
  • | 5 Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard UniversityCambridge, MAUSA
  • | 6 Professor, Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Boston UniversityBoston, MAUSA
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Abstract

Parents in Iran, China and the United States were asked 1) about their potential influence on their children’s religious and scientific views and 2) to consider a situation in which their children expressed dissent. Iranian and US parents endorsed their influence on the children’s beliefs in the two domains. By contrast, Chinese parents claimed more influence in the domain of science than religion. Most parents spoke of influencing their children via Parent-only mechanisms in each domain (e.g., discussion, teaching), although US parents did spontaneously note Multiple sources for the transmission of religious views (e.g., church, other influential adults). Parents proposed a similar stance towards children’s dissenting religious and scientific views. Chinese and US parents were more likely to express Supportive approaches and Iranian parents were more likely to express a Directive approach by comparison. The present research informs our understanding of the cultural transmission of views about science and religion.

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