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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Uncommon Knowledge

The Internet is making musical taste converge

And other surprising insights from the social sciences

Strength through prayer

Pray to God for strength—and you may get it. That’s what psychologists in Germany found in a recent experiment. People were instructed to either pray or think intensively for five minutes alone in a room. Then they watched a funny video—either normally or while trying to suppress emotion and facial expression. Those who tried to suppress themselves during the video performed worse in a subsequent test of self-control, unless they had prayed before watching the video.

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