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Religious people less stressed: Report

TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE, March 5, 2009

Toronto, Canada -- Strong religious convictions can lower stress and enhance the performance of basic tasks, a team of Toronto researchers has found.

They came to that conclusion after putting 28 of their students through tests measuring both their religious fervour and their stress at making mistakes on a test.

“The more religious they were, the less brain activity they showed in response to their own errors,” says University of Toronto assistant psychology professor Michael Inzlicht, lead author of the study in Psychological Science. “They are calmer when they make errors.”

The students, from a variety of backgrounds including Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, were asked how much they agreed that their religion was based on objective truth, whether they would go to war for their faith, and other such statements.

Inzlicht says religious people have a belief system to help them make sense of the world, so can better accept the occasional mistake.



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