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:2/13/2016)... Tennessee (PRWEB) , ... February 13, 2016 , ... ... the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) states that vein visualization technology should be used ... by healthcare facilities around the world, the INS Standards mandate the use of ...
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... ... In the early or “honeymoon” stage of a relationship, couples strive to put ... to be romantic, and may exaggerate a strength or two in an effort to ... , A recent study from Queendom.com , however, suggests that new couples who ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... of love, as expressed in Blue SKies Buddha, the biography of Rama - Dr. ... in fact a love story, the love of a Buddhist teacher for teaching and ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... non-profit organization devoted exclusively to funding innovative lymphoma research and serving the lymphoma ... – hosted over 250 members of South Florida’s philanthropic community at its 10th ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Each year, the American Physical Therapy ... Anaheim, CA at the Anaheim Convention Center. Almost 10,000 physical therapists across the country ... in action, learn more about their chosen field and network with their colleagues. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Maharashtra, February 12, 2016 ... Market research report titled Chronic Inflammation Global Clinical ... a snapshot of the global clinical trials landscape ... clinical trials by Region, Country (G7 & E7), ... point status and reviews top companies involved and ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016 Laboratory glassware and plasticware ... These may range from microscope slides to large storage ... from borosilicate glass because of its low weight and ... hand, started gaining popularity over the past decade when ... glass with plastic in several applications due to its ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016 Potrero Medical, Inc., the developer of the ... appointment of George M. Rapier, III , MD, to ... , WellMed is one of the nation,s largest physician ... members in Texas and ... his own internal medicine practice, he has been instrumental to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: