Thursday, 29 April 2010
Faith Shuts Down Critical Faculties
An interesting piece of research by Uffe Schjoedt at the Department of the Study of Religion at Aarhus University, Denmark, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) finds that when strongly religious people fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. It is reported in New Scientist. This explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness. It seems likely that the results extend beyond religious leaders to such figures as parents, doctors and politicians.