Sciencedaily reports on a study of how the brains of believers and non-believers behave under stress:

We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors. They’re much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error.

These correlations remained strong even after controlling for personality and cognitive ability, says Inzlicht, who also found that religious participants made fewer errors on the Stroop task than their non-believing counterparts. [...]

Obviously, anxiety can be negative because if you have too much, you’re paralyzed with fear,” he says. “However, it also serves a very useful function in that it alerts us when we’re making mistakes. If you don’t experience anxiety when you make an error, what impetus do you have to change or improve your behaviour so you don’t make the same mistakes again and again?

[Via Sully; my emphasis.]

One Response to “The brains of religious believers”
  1. Dave Walker says:

    Very interesting. Perhaps believers experience less anxiety in the face of errors, because they find themselves in a continual state of error by believing, and yet make light of it?

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