Religious thoughts stimulate same part of brain as love, drugs, music and sex: study

Religious thoughts stimulate same part of brain as love, drugs, music and sex

Religious thoughts, love, drugs and sex all stimulate the same part of a person’s brain, a new conducted by University of Utah researchers suggested.

The researchers led by Prof. Jeffrey Anderson, of radiology and bio-engineering at the university, took 12 male and 7 female devout Mormons between 20 and 30 years old, and studied by under an MRI machine as they focused on religious quotes and videos and prayer.

The researchers were surprised to find that the religious thoughts were activating the same part of the participants’ brains that is activated by romantic and parental love, drugs and even sex. Dr. Anderson said across a broad range of stimuli, it’s a pleasure hub for the brain.

Sharing their findings, Anderson added, “Is it possible that a Lutheran woman in Minnesota reading the Bible and an ISIS fighter in Syria contemplating religious violence may activate the same brain regions, that it might feel the same way for vastly different religious ideologies?”

Moral reasoning and empathy were the other parts of the brain that were impacted by the participants’ religious experiences.

The astonishing results of the study were detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Social Neuroscience.


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