The portrait of atheist in the eyes of contemporary students



The paper describes the procedure and the results of a study of university students' conceptions of atheism and atheistic personality. The paper starts with a review of the principal sociological and psychological studies of atheism, presenting Russian and foreign research of personality characteristics of atheists and the place of atheism in the social life. The empirical section describes two stages of an empirical study aiming to investigate the conceptions that 1st and 2nd year university students have of personality characteristics and values of a strongly atheistic person. During the first, qualitative stage, 167 students gave open descriptions of an atheis¬tic person that were subsequently content-analyzed. At the second, correlational stage involving a sample of 216 students, associations between the respondents' notions of atheistic personality and their demographic characteristics and religious attitudes were investigated. The results provide an integral portrait of atheist seen by Russian students, which includes both negative and positive characteristics, which are associated with gen¬der and respondents' own religious attitudes.

General Information

Keywords: religion, atheism, nonreligious consciousness, everyday consciousness, attitudes, virtues.

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Kosheleva N.V., Kazaryan M.Y. The portrait of atheist in the eyes of contemporary students . Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2011. Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 42–49. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Natalia V. Kosheleva, Ph.D. Student, Research Fellow, International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Maria Y. Kazaryan, PhD in Psychology, Assistant at General Psychology Department, Faculty of Psychology and Sociology, Russian State Medical University, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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