Research: Anxiety’s the Driving Factor of Religious Extremism

Research: Anxiety’s the Driving Factor of Religious ExtremismA succession of studies that have been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people, who were questioned whether they would die for their faith or provide support to their nation, if it was going for a war in its defense, were more probable to say yes, when they were in situations that would provoke their anxiety.

The anxiety-provoking situations comprised being given multifaceted mathematical troubles, considering a quandary in one's personal life, or thinking over qualms in a relationship.

In all the studies, people who had come across such situations became anxious to do something when provoked, especially in terms of their faith, were more extreme in their religious confidence and more passionately attached to their principles than those, who had been in nonaligned circumstances.

The scientists were also able to find that religious enthusiasm was most marked amongst people, who were already susceptible to anxiety, and, who felt bleak about attaining everyday goals in their lives.

Professor, Ian McGregor of York University's Psychology Department, who led the study, said that a psychological phenomenon named 'Reactive Approach Motivation' is behind the results obtained.

Previously, research by the similar squad found that strong religious values are related to low activity in the part of the brain that manages anxiety, the anterior cingulate cortex.