Monday, January 05, 2009

Religious People & Self-Control

After studying 80 years of research on religion, University of Miami professor of Psychology Michael McCullough reports recently that religious people have more self-control than those less religious.

Christian Post reports.
Science Blog reports.
The New York Times reports.

The summary of his findings:

  • Religious rituals such as prayer and meditation affect the parts of the human brain that are most important for self-regulation and self-control;

  • When people view their goals as "sacred," they put more energy and effort into pursuing those goals, and therefore, are probably more effective at attaining them;

  • Religious lifestyles may contribute to self-control by providing people with clear standards for their behavior, by causing people to monitor their own behavior more closely, and by giving people the sense that God is watching their behavior;

  • The fact that religious people tend to be higher in self-control helps explain why religious people are less likely to misuse drugs and alcohol and experience problems with crime and delinquency.

The professor also highlights that the report helps us to understand, "the same social force that motivates acts of charity and generosity can also motivate people to strap bomb belts around their waists and then blow themselves up in crowded city buses".

If that's the case, then the conclusion is not religious people are more self-controllable. They are more deterministic and persistent once indoctrinated.


davinci said...

This simple conclusion required 80 years of reseach? My sunday school teacher knew that .....


Sze Zeng said...

Compare a sunday school teacher telling u about it and a university prof. who has done through 80 years of research telling u....which is more convincing?

No doubt both reach the same conclusion, the more data one has, the more solid one's case is. :)