UNC Chapel Hill researchers asked Americans: ‘What does God look like?’ and here are the photos

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Aggregates of the images that young participants (left panel) and old participants (right panel) associated with how they viewed God. (UNC)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked Americans what they think God looks like and they’ve released the images.

A team of psychologists at the school used a technique to construct what a large sample of 511 American Christians think God looks like.

The school said participants in the study saw hundreds of randomly varying face-pairs and selected which face appeared more like how they imagined God to appear.

By combining all the selected faces, the researchers could assemble a composite “face of God” that reflected how each person imagined God to appear.

The researchers found that a person’s perception of what they believed God looks like relies in part on their political affiliation.

“Liberals tended to see God as more feminine, younger, and more loving than conservatives. Conservatives also saw God as more Caucasian and more powerful than liberals,” read an article on the school’s website.

“These biases might have stemmed from the type of societies that liberals and conservatives want,” suggested Joshua Conrad Jackson, the study’s lead author. “Past research shows that conservatives are more motivated than liberals to live in a well-ordered society, one that would be best regulated by a powerful God. On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God.”

Visit the school’s website to read more on the study.

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