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Religious In-group Preference: A Replication and Extension into the Domain of Identity

Curtis S. Dunkel


Published: 2019/06/01


Jewish success has led to questions of how Jews may differ from non-Jews. There is clear evidence that Ashkenazi Jews have greater general cognitive ability. There is more recent evidence that U.S. Jews differ in personality; specifically that they have a higher general factor of personality. Most recently it was also found that U.S. Jews exhibit high levels of in-group preference, despite having a low level of religiosity (itself being strongly positively correlated with in-group preference). In the current investigation this finding is replicated using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study and inquiry extended to examine differences in personal identity. Consistent with the previous findings, Jews showed high levels of in-group preference and low levels of religiosity. Additionally, Jews put more importance on ethnic, and possibly political, identity. These results are interpreted as Jews conflating identifying as a religious and as an ethnic group. A clear limitation of the study is the small Jewish sample. It is recommended that future research test the replicability of the findings of differences in personal identity.

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