I am always a little skeptical about "measuring" the effects of prayer, or even suggesting it has a purpose other than worshipping the Almighty, as far as the following story is concerned I would be interested in meeting the Catholics, I mean what kind of Catholics are they? and I would want a look at the rest of the data. Faith should make us more questioning of such stories not less.Howrah News: Researchers at the Oxford Centre For Science Of The Mind, in Oxford University, in a study published in the journal Pain, conducted an experiment with electric shocks on 12 Roman Catholics and 12 atheists as they studied a painting of the Virgin Mary.
The Catholics in the experiment seemed to be able to block out much of the pain as they were able to activate part of the brain associated with conditioning the experience of pain, reported the Mail on Sunday. The study also found that participants who had strong religious belief could moderate their pain by thinking about it more positively. The experiment was conducted as part of a series by the Oxford academics — scientists, philosophers and theologians. It involved strapping a sparking device on the back of every participant’s left hand to deliver an electric shock. They were also asked to contemplate two paintings, Italian painter Sassoferrato’s 17th century Virgin Annunciate (Virgin Mary) and Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century Lady With An Ermine.
The participants were not told the true purpose of the experiment, only that it was designed to judge how people felt pain while contemplating pictures of different things. They were made to spend half-an-hour inside an MRI scanner, receiving a series of 20 electric shocks in four separate sessions while looking at either one of the paintings. The researchers hoped that the Virgin Mary painting would induce a religious state of mind in the believers and the da Vinci painting was chosen as it did not look dissimilar and would be calming. The researchers found that the Catholics felt "safe," "taken care of" and "clamed down and peaceful," said that looking at the painting of the Virgin Mary. They reported feeling 12 per cent less pain after viewing the religious image.