Thinking about God activates a part of the brain that relieves stress, but only for believers—atheists experience heightened stress when exposed to God-related ideas. A study by Canadian researchers found that when those with religious beliefs were primed to think about God, it decreased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain that regulates bodily arousal when things are going wrong (such as making mistakes).
Atheists who experienced the same stimuli became more stressed and prone to making errors. "I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve," a study co-author told UPI. He also noted that atheists may have done better if they had been prompted to think of their own beliefs. Read the full article. (Read more religion stories.)