Bias against Atheists and Religious Persons in Sweden


  • Nathalie Hallin Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University
  • Daniel Västfjäll Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon
  • Gerhard Andersson Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatry Section, Karolinska Institutet



religion, atheism, conjunction fallacy, bias, cultural evolution


Religion is viewed as necessary for moral behaviour in many parts of the world. Today, however, many societies are becoming more secular and the view of atheists as immoral might therefore change. This study investigated anti-atheist and anti-religious bias in Sweden, by replicating Gervais et al. (2017). The study used an online version of the conjunction fallacy test, which investigates whether a description, in this case of extremely immoral behaviour, is viewed as representative of a category or group. In this study we chose atheists and religious believers as targets. The sample consisted of 268 Swedish participants. The results showed no significant difference between conditions. However, the anti-atheist bias was lower than in the original American sample from the replicated study, while the anti-religious bias was higher. Further research can investigate differences between cultures, using the conjunction fallacy test.

Author Biographies

Nathalie Hallin, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University

PhD student, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning (IBL), Linköping University

Daniel Västfjäll, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon

Professor in Psychology, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning (IBL), Linköping University


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How to Cite

Hallin, N., Västfjäll, D., & Andersson, G. (2020). Bias against Atheists and Religious Persons in Sweden. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 5(2), 205–223.