Thursday, March 19, 2009

Religious people less anxious, brain activity shows

[New Scientist] 19 Mar 2009--If the deeply devout seem less self-doubting than others, perhaps it's because religion helps them shrug off mistakes. So say researchers who found religious people exhibit lower activity than non-believers in a brain region linked to anxiety when erring on a simple test.

"Religion offers an interpretative framework to understand the world. It lets you know when to act, how to act, and what to do in specific situation," says

Michael Inzlicht, a neuroscientist at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, who led the new study. "It provides a kind of blueprint on how to interact with the world."

Religion – and perhaps other strongly held belief systems – buffer against second-guessing decisions, he says.

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