Saturday, August 07, 2010



Just a fun read from Life Science.

Live Science
Thinking About God Calms Believers, Stresses Atheists

Researchers have determined that thinking about God can help relieve anxiety associated with making mistakes. However, the finding only holds for people who believe in a God....

With two experiments, the researchers showed that when people think about religion and God, their brains respond differently—in a way that lets them take setbacks in stride and react with less distress to anxiety-provoking mistakes...

... Interestingly, atheists reacted differently.... 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.

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