20130127-181715Researchers asked subjects, who were from a variety of faith backgrounds, to complete a “religious zeal” questionnaire. Subjects were then given a test asking they name the color of the letters in words such as “red” or “blue” (in which the word “red” may appear in blue letters).

Using electrodes, researchers monitored brain activity and found subjects with high levels of religious observance experienced less activity in the part of the brain that governs anxiety and helps modify behavior. The more religious zeal individuals showed, the better they did on the test.

“The more they believe, the less brain activity we see in response to their own errors,” Inzlicht said. “(Religious people) were much less anxious and stressed when they made an error.”

The study also found that even moderate religious belief resulted in lower levels of anxiety than among non-believers.