In a study of University of Wisconsin Colleges students based on the personality theory of Isabel Briggs Myers, participants with Feeling preferences were more likely to believe in creationism, while students with Thinking preferences favored secular evolution.
Students completed questionnaires designed to indicate their belief or acceptance of God and the theory of evolution, as well as a personality test. (It is worthwhile to note that, in Gallup polls of religion by state, Wisconsin inhabitants consistently indicate that they are as religious, or very slightly less religious, than the average American.) 50% of the participants were determined to be Creationists, scoring high in a belief in a god with a low acceptance of evolution. Researchers were not surprised to find a connection between Feeling types and the Creationists, as prior personality research has consistently demonstrated a link between the Feeling preference and religion.
17.7% of the students were categorized as Secular Evolutionists, those who indicated a low belief in God but a high belief in evolution. Again, the fact that the Secular Evolutionist participants were more likely to be Thinking types was not unexpected. Thinking types prefer to make decisions based on supporting data and logical analysis rather than personal feelings or values, an approach that can conflict with faith-based religion.
Also interesting was the fact that 17.2% of the participants indicated no strong belief in either God or evolution, a response classified as Other. This percentage is almost as high as that of the Secular Evolutionists and higher than Theistic Evolutionists (15.1%), who scored high in both theism and evolution. Amongst the Other and Theistic Evolutionist categories, Perceiving types were more common than other types. This may be related to the tendency of Perceiving types to avoid make decisions, preferring instead to keep their options open.
The researchers hope that studies of this nature will increase religious tolerance by inspiring people to consider that religious differences may be more a matter of personality type, rather than right or wrong. The study was led by the University of Wisconsin and published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Psychological Type.