Brain scans show believers react with less stress to their mistakes than atheists.
Michael Inzlicht's subjects performed a test of cognitive control while hooked up to electrodes that measured their brain activity.
Compared to non-believers, the religious participants showed significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event like making a mistake.
The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made.
Religious belief appears to have a calming effect on its devotees, which makes them less likely to feel anxious about making errors or facing the unknown