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.
In other words they were better equipped, mentally, to handle it.
Sorry, I just have to interject this response for just a second…
Back we go to the article.
“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 differently—in 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 task—one 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). The ACC is associated with a number of things, including regulating bodily states of arousal and alerting us when things are going wrong.
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.
Atheists are not capable to cope with unknown variables, such as religion, in whatever form they may take and what is life, but a wondrous thing cropped FULL of the unknown?
Atheists function in a world of rational thought full of tangible “facts” and I get that, I even respect them for it, but in a world where religion exists, heck in a world where quantum physics exists, not everything can be tangible.
Sometimes, a lot of things, just have to be taken on faith.
What atheists don’t understand about the religious, is that religion is a coping mechanism to help the “unknown” make sense and a lot less scary…(Physics, is good for that too, but IT tends to be a little frightening so I’m not counting it.)
“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.”