Test of Man’s Faith

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The Influence of Religious Imagery on Pain Perception

The experimental study sought to support or disprove the separation of emotions and pain by displaying religious imagery (Virgin Mary praying) and non-religious imagery (art by Leonardo da Vinci) on the subjects of investigation. The primary goal of the study was for the authors to evaluate the influence of pain on both (Bazian, 2008).

Effect of Religious Imagery on Catholics

When exposed to electric shocks, the results showed that Catholics felt less pain when shown an image of the Virgin Mary than non-religious people. Mood, a mental or emotional state of composure according to the experimental study was affected by the degree of belief that each study subject had. For the Catholics group, a positive mood was directly proportional to a sound state of mental composure, therefore, showing a reduced experience of pain because of their degree of belief, when shown a Virgin Mary image during the experimental study. For the non-believers, a non-religious image display played a prominent role in achieving a sound state of mental composure, unfortunately, due to having no beliefs; a positive mood did not show reduced pain on subjects. Additionally, the non-believers also displayed an equal response to a religious image being presented during the experimental study, therefore, for non-believers both religious and non-religious images had a similar effect on their perception of pain (Bazian, 2008).

The Role of the Prefrontal Cortex in Pain Regulation

Pain related activity in the brain, according to MRI scans showed that for both study subjects the right ventrolateral, prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is believed to have something to do when it comes to the regulation of pain, it showed different activity when it came to the two groups of study subjects (Express, 2008). For the believers, they showed more activeness in the brain when a Virgin Mary’s image was presented to them while being subjected to pain, therefore, regulating the pain with their minds. For the non-believers even though they had a preference for the non-religious image as compared to a religious image, the study did not show more activity in their part of the brain that is meant to regulate pain when presented with a non-religious image.

The Role of Faith and Belief in Pain Perception

As humans we all experience pain, but how we respond is what matters. Pain is more of a psychological issue and faith being what one believes in can help in how we react to it. When the believers were subjected to pain and then a photo of the Virgin Mary presented to them they would experience some sort of spiritual support hence making the individuals feel comfortable psychologically, thus, coping with pain they are subjected to positively (Express, 2008). For the nonbelievers, mental strength is what enabled them to cope with the pain; they opted to act in relief, when presented with a non-religious image since they had bias over the religious one, since they lack the spiritual beliefs.

Evaluation of Information and Sources

Finally, the information has been easy to get from secondary sources especially on the first source which is more detailed and well-structured with up to date information. The data is peer-reviewed adding more relevancy for the thesis statement. The experimental study linked with the secondary source provides the basis for understanding the pain from the initial source. However, the second source offers a differing of information which lacks in-depth argumentation, nor the referencing is put in place. The quality of the data is lowered since the two-article source contradicts at par from the original source written by Katja Wiech and colleagues.


Bazian, 2008. Religious Belief and Pain Relief. NHS.choices. [Online] Available at: [Accessed Nov. 24, 2017]

Express. 2008. Faith in God eases the Pain. Express UK News. [Online] Available at: [Accessed Nov. 24, 2017

April 26, 2023

Education Health

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Study Experiment Pain

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