Anxiety and insecurity turn people to religion

Epiphenom has a round-up of research findings about religion and anxiety that jibe well with my pre-existing notions. So take that as a caveat. Items include:

  • Kurt Gray has shown that people invoke god as a moral agent to explain negative (but acausal) events.
  • Nicholas Epley has shown that making people feel lonely increases their belief in the supernatural – and also makes them more likely to think that household gadgets have personalities!
  • Jennifer Whitson and Adam Galinsky have shown that manipulating people so that they feel out of control makes them more inclined to see patterns that aren’t really there.
  • On the one hand, Michael Inzlicht has found that religious people have lower ‘error response negativity’. This is the spike in activity in a part of the middle brain that occurs when you make a mistake – it’s the brain warning system. People who have a lower ERN are less anxious about mistakes (anti-anxiety drugs also lower the ERN). On the other hand, another study has shown that something called the ‘Behavioural Inhibition System’ – a deep seated biological response that’s linked to anxiety – is increased in religious people. This suggests that religious people may be inherently more anxious.
Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>