Two Concepts of Belief Strength: Epistemic Confidence and Identity Centrality

Frontiers in Psychology 13:1-4 (2022)
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What does it mean to have “strong beliefs”? My thesis is that it can mean two very different things. That is, there are two distinct psychological features to which “strong belief” can refer, and these often come apart. I call the first feature epistemic confidence and the second identity centrality. They are conceptually distinct and, if we take ethnographies of religion seriously, distinct in fact as well. If that’s true, it’s methodologically important for the psychological sciences to have measures that tease them apart. In this paper, I critique some measures that are currently in use and propose some strategies for developing measurement tools that track the distinction in question.

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Neil Van Leeuwen
Georgia State University


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