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Title:The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief
Format Type:Ebook
Author:
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISBN:
ISBN 13:
Number of Pages:9
Category:Religion, Science, Neuroscience, Non fiction, Philosophy, Psychology, Atheism, Brain

The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief by Sam Harris, Jonas T. Kaplan

PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief ABSTRACT from a href http www plosone org article info Adoi F Fjournal pone top rel nofollow the full study a .

Background .

While religious faith remains one of the most significant features of human life little is known about its relationship to ordinary belief at the level of the brain Nor is it known whether religious believers and nonbelievers differ in how they evaluate statements of fact Our lab previously has used functional neuroimaging to study belief as a general mode of cognition and others have looked specifically at religious belief However no research has compared these two states of mind directly Methodology Principal Findings .

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI to measure signal changes in the brains of thirty subjects fifteen committed Christians and fifteen nonbelievers as they evaluated the truth and falsity of religious and nonreligious propositions For both groups and in both categories of stimuli belief judgments of true vs judgments of false was associated with greater signal in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex an area important for self representation emotional associations reward and goal driven behavior This region showed greater signal whether subjects believed statements about God the Virgin Birth etc or statements about ordinary facts A comparison of both stimulus categories suggests that religious thinking is more associated with brain regions that govern emotion self representation and cognitive conflict while thinking about ordinary facts is more reliant upon memory retrieval networks .

Conclusions Significance .

While religious and nonreligious thinking differentially engage broad regions of the frontal parietal and medial temporal lobes the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content independent Our study compares religious thinking with ordinary cognition and as such constitutes a step toward developing a neuropsychology of religion However these findings may also further our understanding of how the brain accepts statements of all kinds to be valid descriptions of the world .

Author Contributions .

Conceived and designed the experiments Sam Harris Jonas T Kaplan Marco Iacoboni Mark S Cohen Performed the experiments Jonas T Kaplan Analyzed the data Sam Harris Jonas T Kaplan Marco Iacoboni Mark S Cohen Contributed reagents materials analysis tools Marco Iacoboni Mark S Cohen Wrote the paper Sam Harris Jonas T Kaplan Performed all subject recruitment telephone screenings and psychometric assessments prior to scanning Ashley Curiel Supervised our psychological assessment procedures and consulted on subject exclusions Susan Y Bookheimer Gave extensive notes on the manuscript Mark S Cohen Marco Iacoboni

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Free Will, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief, and Uncertainty, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief, Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue, Lying, An Atheist Manifesto, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Letter to a Christian Nation
ABSTRACT from a href http www plosone org article info Adoi F Fjournal pone top rel nofollow the full study a br br Background br br While religious faith remains one of the most significant features of human life little is known about its relationship to ordinary belief at the level of the brain Nor is it known whether religious believers and nonbelievers differ in how they evaluate statements of fact Our lab previously has used functional neuroimaging to study belief as a general mode of cognition and others have looked specifically at religious belief However no research has compared these two states of mind directly br Methodology Principal Findings br br We used functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI to measure signal changes in the brains of thirty subjects fifteen committed Christians and fifteen nonbelievers as they evaluated the truth and falsity of religious and nonreligious propositions For both groups and in both categories of stimuli belief judgments of true vs judgments of false was associated with greater signal in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex an area important for self representation emotional associations reward and goal driven behavior This region showed greater signal whether subjects believed statements about God the Virgin Birth etc or statements about ordinary facts A comparison of both stimulus categories suggests that religious thinking is more associated with brain regions that govern emotion self representation and cognitive conflict while thinking about ordinary facts is more reliant upon memory retrieval networks br br Conclusions Significance br br While religious and nonreligious thinking differentially engage broad regions of the frontal parietal and medial temporal lobes the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content independent Our study compares religious thinking with ordinary cognition and as such constitutes a step toward developing a neuropsychology of religion However these findings may also further our understanding of how the brain accepts statements of all kinds to be valid descriptions of the world br br Author Contributions br br Conceived and designed the experiments Sam Harris Jonas T Kaplan Marco Iacoboni Mark S Cohen Performed the experiments Jonas T Kaplan Analyzed the data Sam Harris Jonas T Kaplan Marco Iacoboni Mark S Cohen Contributed reagents materials analysis tools Marco Iacoboni Mark S Cohen Wrote the paper Sam Harris Jonas T Kaplan Performed all subject recruitment telephone screenings and psychometric assessments prior to scanning Ashley Curiel Supervised our psychological assessment procedures and consulted on subject exclusions Susan Y Bookheimer Gave extensive notes on the manuscript Mark S Cohen Marco Iacoboni, No description available, As it was in Anna Karenina Madame Bovary and Othello so it is in life Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals financial fraud government corruption even murder and genocide generally require an additional moral defect a willingness to lie br br In Lying bestselling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie He focuses on white lies those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort for these are the lies that most often tempt us And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process, In response to i The End of Faith i Sam Harris received thousands of letters from Christians excoriating him for not believing in God i Letter to A Christian Nation i is his reply Using rational argument Harris offers a measured refutation of the beliefs that form the core of fundamentalist Christianity In the course of his argument he addresses current topics ranging from intelligent design and stem cell research to the connections between religion and violence In i Letter to a Christian Nation i Sam Harris boldly challenges the influence that faith has on public life in our nation