Washington: Rarity of interfaith marriage has been recently explained by the assumptions on the open-mindedness. Across a number of faiths and cultures, people tend to date and marry others who share their religious beliefs. Now, new psychology research from New Zealand's University of Otago suggested that this phenomenon, known as "religious homogamy," was partially a result of inferences about religious people's personalities.
The researchers measured how religious and non-religious individuals perceive the "openness," a primary dimension of personality associated with intellectual curiosity, of potential religious and non-religious mates. They found that non-religious participants in particular associated religious behavior with less openness, and that this inference led them to devalue religious individuals as romantic partners.
The research team discovered that non-religious participants found potential partners less desirable, and also less open to new experience, as their religious behavior increased.
Non-religious participants preferred non-religious partners, and also those who were open to new experiences, while religious participants showed the opposite preferences. What's more, the same-religiosity bias was reduced when a partner revealed he or she was open to experience.
Further analysis suggested that religious and non-religious participants evaluate the same 'open' behaviours differently. That is, there was agreement that non-religious individuals are relatively open-minded, but not on whether being open-minded was a good thing.