Do you remember your favorite superhero as a child? How about angels and demons? Do you have the same beliefs now? A study done on college students says that the resounding answer to that last question is yes! Why is it we stick to the opinions formed as a child? Science is coming up with a response.
The study, conducted by Stephanie Anglin from Rutgers University, consisted of 348 undergraduate students identied with various religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Muslim, and Atheist just to name a few. Of these students, the survey helped Anglin understand the views of the soul that persisted throughout their lives. Her hypothesis is that it is automatic, it stays with us. What she found is that the view on the afterlife and the reality of a soul seems to taper off as we get older. So at what age does the view on the soul really cement into our life, faith, and predict our future?
From an early age, we have had thoughts and ideas pressed on to us whether it be from family or the environment around us. These early cognitive stages lead to a foundation on which our beliefs and morals will be built on. At this point, they are by no means concrete.
By now we have explored the world and have been able to develop our own ideas abut how things work and why things do what they do. At this stage, religion and superstitions are the most prevalent. Now that we are older, we are able to grasp concepts such as heaven, hell, and an afterlife. Depending on the religion, this could include karma, reincarnation, offerings, and so on. When we were younger, we had no clue why we were doing these things, but the adults were, so it must be right. Once in our adolescent stage, which can vary person to person mind you, it goes with maturity, the ideas formed will stick with us into our adulthood, whether that means you are sticking with what was learned, or if it means choosing a new path..
With pretty clear intentions and motivations, adults will stick to the path their adolescent self has chosen for themselves. While this is a pretty bizarre idea, it is because your brain was so open to suggestions, they have embedded themselves quite thoroughly into your brain. Have you ever tried to convince yourself that the scary movie you watched was only a scary movie? Same concept, only you watched that same scary (or influential) movie so many times to impacted the way you live.
By no means is this a full reasoning as to why humans seem to stick with what they know, this article is only intended for reasoning. No one ever really knows why humans learn and process events and emotions the way we do. Dedicated branches of science and medicine are all trying to figure out the same question that has plagued them since the beginning of time. How does our brain do that?