Navigation Links
Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but only for believers
Date:8/4/2010

Thinking about God may make you less upset about making errors, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The researchers measured brain waves for a particular kind of distress-response while participants made mistakes on a test. Those who had been prepared with religious thoughts had a less prominent response to mistakes than those who hadn't.

"Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs," says Michael Inzlicht, who cowrote the study with Alexa Tullett, both at the University of Toronto Scarborough. "I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve."

With two experiments, the researchers showed that when people think about religion and God, their brains respond differentlyin a way that lets them take setbacks in stride and react with less distress to anxiety-provoking mistakes. Participants either wrote about religion or did a scrambled word task that included religion and God-related words. Then the researchers recorded their brain activity as they completed a computerized taskone that was chosen because it has a high rate of errors. The results showed that when people were primed to think about religion and God, either consciously or unconsciously, brain activity decreases in areas consistent with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), an area associated with a number of things, including regulating bodily states of arousal and serving an alerting function when things are going wrong, including when we make mistakes.

Interestingly, atheists reacted differently; when they were unconsciously primed with God-related ideas, their ACC increased its activity. The researchers suggest that for religious people, thinking about God may provide a way of ordering the world and explaining apparently random events and thus reduce their feelings of distress. In contrast, for atheists, thoughts of God may contradict the meaning systems they embrace and thus cause them more distress.

"Thinking about religion makes you calm under fire. It makes you less distressed when you've made an error," says Inzlicht. "We think this can help us understand some of the really interesting findings about people who are religious. Although not unequivocal, there is some evidence that religious people live longer and they tend to be happier and healthier." Atheists shouldn't despair, though. "We think this can occur with any meaning system that provides structure and helps people understand their world." Maybe atheists would do better if they were primed to think about their own beliefs, he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Keri Chiodo
kchiodo@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Culture wires the brain: A cognitive neuroscience perspective
2. New diagnostic chip able to generate single-cell molecular fingerprints for brain tumors
3. When memory-related region of brain is damaged, other areas compensate, study finds
4. Iron oxide nanoparticles becoming tools for brain tumor imaging and treatment
5. Heart Health Can Help Predict Brain Health: Study
6. Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy may protect women against brain aneurysms
7. Resting brain activity associated with spontaneous fibromyalgia pain
8. Brainstem, spinal cord images hidden in Michelangelos Sistine Chapel fresco
9. Aging and longevity tied to specific brain region in mice
10. Multiple sclerosis -- antihypertensive drug ameliorate inflammation in the brain
11. In Conversation, Peoples Brains Can Mirror Each Other
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/30/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... April 30, 2016 , ... ... organization, today announced RANKED Health , a program to critically evaluate and ... major goal of the program is to provide independent, unbiased and accurate information ...
(Date:4/30/2016)... Rosa, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 30, 2016 , ... “Aging well is a challenge for all of us, but ... NCMA’s Dr. Parul T. Kohli . “Research is showing more and more that there ... risk of disease and disability as we age.” Top priorities Dr. Kohli’s recommends for her patients ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... In an article published April 16th on ... Botox and lip injections, which she underwent in order to feel more at home ... Arts Festival. The article explains that Ms. Mirmelli’s situation is not unique; many plastic ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Our bodies are bombarded daily by environmental ... deal with these stressors is to adopt a more healthful diet, but too many ... Groux, a certified Holistic Nutritionist and the creator of the Newport Beach Cleanse and ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The White House announced efforts yesterday to ... about their loan terms and accounts, and more protections for borrowers. The announcement ... private loans, has reached $1.3 trillion, with 43 million Americans holding student loans ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... PARIS , April 29, 2016 ... Jérôme Contamine, Directeur Financier ... la santé, publie ses résultats pour ... Financier du Groupe, Jérôme Contamine, commente ... Groupe et les perspectives pour le ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 Research ... "Global Plastic Surgery Products Market 2016-2020" report to ... ) , The global plastic surgery products ... 9.47% during the period 2016-2020. , ,The growing adoption ... to the growth of the market. Lasers are used ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , Net Sales of $1.90 billion represent an increase ... period, and an increase of 1.2% on an adjusted pro ... first quarter were $0.52 reported, a decrease of 47.5% from ... 29.9% over the prior year period , The Company ... Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH) ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: