Anxiety could lead to religious extremism: study

York University profs find anxiety can radicalize people

In a series of studies from researchers at York University in Toronto, over 600 people were put in either anxiety-provoking or neutral situations, then asked to describe personal goals and rate conviction for their religious ideals, including whether they’d give their lives for their faith, or support a war to defend it. Anxious conditions made participants become more eagerly engaged in ideals, and extreme in religious convictions, according to a York press release. In one study, thinking about a personal dilemma caused a surge towards more idealistic personal goals, while in another, struggling with a confusing mathematical passage led to a spike in radical religious extremes. In another, thinking about relationship uncertainties led to the same reaction.