, Volume 60, Issue 3–4, pp 201–205 | Cite as

Religion and Cognitive Development: Implications for the Developing World

  • Rumy HasanEmail author


Nothing shapes the morals, values, and folkways in the Global South as much as religion. It is the primary mark of identity and adhered to in an extraordinarily passionate manner. Hence, religion matters deeply and permeates directly or indirectly almost every vestige of life not least on growth and socio-economic development of societies. This article explores how religious thinking affects the cognitive development of people, especially children, which may, in turn, impact upon the variables of a country’s economic growth and development. The working assumption is that a weakness in the former deleteriously affects the latter. This article concludes by arguing that the influence of religion is least in the most advanced countries.


Religion Growth Socio-economic development Cognitive development Piaget 


  1. BBC News. 2016. Pisa tests: Singapore top in global education rankings. 6 Dec.
  2. Inhelder, Bärbel, and Jean Piaget. 1958. The Growth of Logical Thinking: From Childhood to Adolescence (trans: Anne Parsons and Stanley Milgram). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  3. Piaget, Jean. 1952. Logic and psychology. In The Essential Piaget, ed. H. Gruber, and J. Vonèche, 445–477. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. (1977).Google Scholar
  4. Sutherland, Peter. 1992. Cognitive Development Today: Piaget and his Critics. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. UNDP. 2014. Arab Knowledge Report 2014: Youth and Localisation of Knowledge. Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.
  6. Wadsworth, Barry J. 1984. Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive and Affective Development. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  7. Wilhelm, Richard. 1972 [1932]. Confucius and Confucianism (trans: G. Danton and A. Danton. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  8. Zuckerman, Phil. 2008. Society without God: What the Least Religious Countries Can Tell Us About Contentment. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for International Development 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SPRU - Science Policy Research UnitUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

Personalised recommendations