Neurologists have identified brain lesions that could be linked to religious fundamentalism

Posted by K R on

Hunting for God in our grey matter seems to be a popular topic for neurologists, with past studies comparing religious highs with drug-induced ones, linking spiritual experiences with neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and identifying which parts of the brain (if any) could be responsible for a faith in the supernatural. Now a new study has now found that those with damage to a section of the brain associated with planning become less open to new ideas, explaining why some people are more likely to become extreme in their religious beliefs. Led by neurologist Jordan Grafman from Northwestern University in Illinois, the study dug into a tragic yet useful pool of data known as the Vietnam Head Injury Study (VHIS). In the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, Korean War veteran and neurologist William Caveness developed a registry of approximately 2,000 soldiers who had experienced head trauma during the conflict. The detailed information collected by medical personnel proved to be invaluable - not just to Caveness, but to other researchers such as Grafman. As a result of the quick medical treatment many of the wounded received, many soldiers survived their injuries and returned home where researchers continued to follow up on their health and wellbeing. Decades later, Grafman is still making interesting discoveries on the brain's inner workings by studying it when it's damaged. Last year, he found parts of the brain in the frontal and temporal regions were responsible for downplaying the significance of mystical experiences. Read More: ScienceAlert

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