New York: According to a study, what we believe as children about the soul and the afterlife determines what we believe as adults.
"Assuming that people have these automatic, implicit or ingrained beliefs about the soul and afterlife, how can we measure those implicit beliefs," asked Stephanie Anglin, doctoral student in psychology at the Rutgers University's School of Arts and Sciences.
The researcher asked 348 undergraduate psychology students about their beliefs concerning the soul and afterlife when they were 10 years old and now.
Their answers provided Anglin with the students' explicit beliefs - that is, what the students said they believed now and what they remembered believing when they were 10.
Anglin found that her subjects' implicit beliefs about the soul and the afterlife were close to what they remembered during childhood.
She compared implicit belief by religious affiliation, including believers and non-believers, and found no differences between them.
"That suggests that implicit beliefs are equally strong among religious and non-religious people," she concluded.
The research appeared in the British Journal of Social Psychology.