Say a Little Prayer: Religious People Less Anxious

Research from the University of Toronto found that those who believe in God have less anxiety and stress than those who are not as religious.

To test the theory, the university’s assistant professor of psychology Michael Inzlicht conducted two studies in which he hooked participants up to electrodes to test their brain activity.

The result indicated believers and non-believers have significant differences in their brains.

According to Inzlicht, the religious participants had a lot less activity going on in the portion of the brain that signals when attention or control is needed because a person is producing anxiety.

“You could think of this part of the brain like a cortical alarm bell that rings when an individual has just made a mistake or experiences uncertainty,” Inzlicht said, who teaches and conducts research at the University of Toronto Scarborough. “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.”

Inzlicht’s report appears online in the journal Psychological Science.

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