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Atheists turn to science during times of stress

发布时间:2017-09-11 03:01:07来源:未知点击:

IT IS well known that religious faith can help believers cope with stress, by providing them with a sense of meaning and control at times of uncertainty. It now seems that a “belief” in science and a rationalistic outlook might do the same for the non-religious. A team of psychologists led by Miguel Farias at the University of Oxford asked 52 rowers to fill in a “belief in science” questionnaire just before taking part in a competitive regatta. They gave the same test – in which participants had to score statements such as “science is the most valuable part of human culture” – to rowers at a training session. The researchers also assessed stress levels and degree of religious belief. Farias and colleagues discovered that those about to race were both more stressed and rated their belief in science 14 per cent higher than those who were simply training (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, doi.org/msm). The effect was modest, but the findings reflect evidence that people find comfort in times of threat by moving closer to certain aspects of their world view – conservatives become more conservative, for example, and religious believers more devout. Farias speculates that a rationalist outlook would provide similar relief. “Any kind of belief system helps you structure your perception of reality,