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Tue Apr 16, 2019, 03:55 PM

Scientists have established a link between religious fundamentalism and brain damage

Scientists have established a link between religious fundamentalism and brain damage
Bobby Azarian, Raw Story BOBBY AZARIAN, RAW STORY
16 APR 2019 AT 13:59 ET



A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia has shown that religious fundamentalism is, in part, the result of a functional impairment in a brain region known as the prefrontal cortex. The findings suggest that damage to particular areas of the prefrontal cortex indirectly promotes religious fundamentalism by diminishing cognitive flexibility and openness—a psychology term that describes a personality trait which involves dimensions like curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness.

Religious beliefs can be thought of as socially transmitted mental representations that consist of supernatural events and entities assumed to be real. Religious beliefs differ from empirical beliefs, which are based on how the world appears to be and are updated as new evidence accumulates or when new theories with better predictive power emerge. On the other hand, religious beliefs are not usually updated in response to new evidence or scientific explanations, and are therefore strongly associated with conservatism. They are fixed and rigid, which helps promote predictability and coherence to the rules of society among individuals within the group.

Religious fundamentalism refers to an ideology that emphasizes traditional religious texts and rituals and discourages progressive thinking about religion and social issues. Fundamentalist groups generally oppose anything that questions or challenges their beliefs or way of life. For this reason, they are often aggressive towards anyone who does not share their specific set of supernatural beliefs, and towards science, as these things are seen as existential threats to their entire worldview.

Since religious beliefs play a massive role in driving and influencing human behavior throughout the world, it is important to understand the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism from a psychological and neurological perspective.

More:
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/scientists-established-link-religious-fundamentalism-brain-damage/?utm_source=push_notifications

26 replies, 2381 views

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Reply Scientists have established a link between religious fundamentalism and brain damage (Original post)
Judi Lynn Apr 2019 OP
sfwriter Apr 2019 #1
democratisphere Apr 2019 #2
littlemissmartypants Apr 2019 #3
SWBTATTReg Apr 2019 #4
Ponietz Apr 2019 #5
KayF Apr 2019 #6
keithbvadu2 Apr 2019 #16
qazplm135 Apr 2019 #7
demosincebirth Apr 2019 #8
walkingman Apr 2019 #10
qazplm135 Apr 2019 #17
walkingman Apr 2019 #18
qazplm135 Apr 2019 #19
walkingman Apr 2019 #20
qazplm135 Apr 2019 #21
walkingman Apr 2019 #23
defacto7 Apr 2019 #9
csziggy Apr 2019 #22
marble falls Apr 2019 #11
DoctorJoJo Apr 2019 #12
Judi Lynn Apr 2019 #13
eppur_se_muova Apr 2019 #14
keithbvadu2 Apr 2019 #15
hunter Apr 2019 #24
struggle4progress Apr 2019 #25
Loki Liesmith Apr 2019 #26

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:01 PM

2. The Onion? Nope. Borowitz? Nope. Legit? Yep.

Explains a lot.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:07 PM

3. Kicked and recommended. nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:08 PM

4. Interesting and very logical article. Mindsets are actually different, and if species ...

endurance (one out of many things) is measured by genetic changes to environmental and other changes, those members of a species with this damaged mindset will be inclined to not survive as robustly as other members of that species, being unable to change/adapt as conditions merit fast enough.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:12 PM

5. Guess what all those damaged prefrontal cortices will do with this one

That’s right, double down!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:27 PM

6. does this make them vulnerable to scams?

by any chance?

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Response to KayF (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 10:56 PM

16. Jim Bakker's Apocalypse Chow

https://www.democraticunderground.com/100210568158

“Bakker is just trying to sell property using the same fictional scare tactics he uses to sell buckets of disgusting glop,” the post said.
---------------------
Apocalypse Chow: We Tried Televangelist Jim Bakker's 'Survival Food'

(It did not get rave reviews)

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/03/456677535/apocalypse-chow-we-tried-televangelist-jim-bakkers-survival-food

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:30 PM

7. eh you can find a study to tell you whatever you want to hear

 

1. How do you know that they weren't religious fundamentalists before the trauma?
2. How do you know the situation that caused the brain trauma in the first place didn't help lead to religious fundamentalism in some of them?

I'm agnostic. I am certainly no apologist for religious fundamentalism. But at the same time, I'm going to need more evidence than one study of a small sample size of a limited population before I sign on to the findings of this study.

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Response to qazplm135 (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:50 PM

8. I agree.

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Response to qazplm135 (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:51 PM

10. When I hear about 50,000+ attending Lakewood Church (former Summut Coliseum) every Sunday

in Houston that tells me that there is something more than religion going on. This is a cult by any measure. I would bet that most of them are concealed carry which is even more frightening.

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Response to walkingman (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 08:05 AM

17. In a city of millions?

 

That just tells me Lakewood is good at recruitment.

That's the turnout for a sporting event. Is that a cult too?

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Response to qazplm135 (Reply #17)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 11:55 AM

18. Well, you asked!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/200911/is-sport-religion

"The similarities between sport fandom and organized religion are striking. Consider the vocabulary associated with both: faith, devotion, worship, ritual, dedication, sacrifice, commitment, spirit, prayer, suffering, festival, and celebration."

It may seem odd, to equate religion with sport entertainment but it must be understood that prior to mass communications, religious ceremonies were a source of entertainment for ordinary people who rarely attended a theater or traveled to a sporting event. Sports and religion may get categorized separately but their intersection is difficult to miss.If ritual may be entertaining, then entertainment, as experienced in a sports stadium, may be ritualistic. Fans wear the team colors and carry its flags, icons, and mascots. Then there is repetitive chanting of team encouragement, hand-clapping, booing the other team, doing the wave, and so forth. The singing of an anthem at a sporting event likely has similar psychological effects as the singing of a hymn in church.

Given that sports entertainment has obvious similarities to religious rituals, it is reasonable to ask whether the connection between fans and their preferred sport has psychological effects that are comparable to religious experiences - effects that account for religion as a worldwide human adaptation.

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Response to walkingman (Reply #18)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 12:05 PM

19. none of those things are aligned with a cult

 

saying sports is like religion is like saying both of them are team events where folks actively feel a part of and root for said team.

Whether it's sports, religion, nationality, Justin and Kelly, or Dem/Rep.

That's FAR different from declaring any of those things "a cult."
Or the result of actual brain damage.

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Response to qazplm135 (Reply #19)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 06:01 PM

20. It might have some connection?

A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia has shown that religious fundamentalism is, in part, the result of a functional impairment in a brain region known as the prefrontal cortex. The findings suggest that damage to particular areas of the prefrontal cortex indirectly promotes religious fundamentalism by diminishing cognitive flexibility and openness—a psychology term that describes a personality trait which involves dimensions like curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness.

These findings are important because they suggest that impaired functioning in the prefrontal cortex—whether from brain trauma, a psychological disorder, a drug or alcohol addiction, or simply a particular genetic profile—can make an individual susceptible to religious fundamentalism. And perhaps in other cases, extreme religious indoctrination harms the development or proper functioning of the prefrontal regions in a way that hinders cognitive flexibility and openness.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/04/scientists-established-link-religious-fundamentalism-brain-damage/

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Response to walkingman (Reply #20)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 06:07 PM

21. You just linked

 

The exact same article we are already discussing.

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Response to qazplm135 (Reply #21)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 07:04 PM

23. Funny - Sorry the "brain damage" comment reminded me of that article.

Too much religiosity has given me brain damage!! I still think the idea of having a church where I used to watch the Rockets is strange but I'm not religious.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 04:51 PM

9. Good info. I've read such studies in the past but this link is rawstory so...

where does this really come from? Rawstory doesn't usually do their own stuff and I won't go to their site. If they get it from another site we should go there instead.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 06:07 PM

22. Full article at a free site

Biological and cognitive underpinnings of religious fundamentalism
Wanting Zhong,a,b,1 Irene Cristofori,a,b,1 Joseph Bulbulia,c Frank Krueger,d,e and Jordan Grafmana,b,f

Abstract

Beliefs profoundly affect people's lives, but their cognitive and neural pathways are poorly understood. Although previous research has identified the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) as critical to representing religious beliefs, the means by which vmPFC enables religious belief is uncertain. We hypothesized that the vmPFC represents diverse religious beliefs and that a vmPFC lesion would be associated with religious fundamentalism, or the narrowing ofreligious beliefs. To test this prediction, we assessed religious adherence with a widely-used religious fundamentalism scale in a large sample of 119 patients with penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI). If the vmPFC is crucial to modulating diverse personal religious beliefs, we predicted that pTBI patients with lesions to the vmPFC would exhibit greater fundamentalism, and that this would be modulated by cognitive flexibility and trait openness. Instead, we found that participants with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) lesions have fundamentalist beliefs similar to patients with vmPFC lesions and that the effect of a dlPFC lesion on fundamentalism was significantly mediated by decreased cognitive flexibility and openness. These findings indicate that cognitive flexibility and openness are necessary for flexible and adaptive religious commitment, and that such diversity of religious thought is dependent on dlPFC functionality.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5500821/

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 06:42 PM

11. You sold me with the photograph alone.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 06:48 PM

12. I Always Thought Someone Must Have Dropped Bachmann On Her Head As a Child!

 

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 09:07 PM

13. Scientists have established a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism (among Vietnam

Scientists have established a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism (among Vietnam vets)
JANUARY 14, 2019 BY ALAN DUVAL

You may have seen a flurry of articles bouncing around the ‘net recently, with reference to a paper in Neuropsychologia, called ‘Biological and cognitive underpinnings of religious fundamentalism.’ Here, for example, is an article on AlterNet that popped up on my Facebook feed, and here is another, on Salon, that I found during my research. The headlines typically sensationalize the findings as “Scientists have established a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism,” or similar.

The fact that this paper has popped up now is a little odd, as the original article was published in mid-2017, and the free version of the author manuscript was posted in mid-2018. As it’s doing the rounds again, and as it was about time that I wrote a new blog post, here goes.

Links to the paper are above, and all images below are from that paper. What follows is a synopsis, and brief commentary (you can go to the original paper for citations).

Biological and cognitive underpinnings of religious fundamentalism

Zhong, W., Cristofori, I., Bulbulia, J., Krueger, F. and Grafman, J. (2017). Biological and cognitive underpinnings of religious fundamentalism, Neuropsychologia, 100; 18-25. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.04.009.

More:
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2019/01/14/scientists-have-established-a-link-between-brain-damage-and-religious-fundamentalism-among-vietnam-vets/

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 10:21 PM

14. Which is cause, and which effect ?

I remember a woman once asking if it's English teeth that cause the accent, or the other way around.

https://soundcloud.com/cleo-laine/english-teeth

Kudos for choosing the most suitable photo to accompany this headline.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Apr 16, 2019, 10:53 PM

15. Cults work because many people need someone to run their lives.

Cults work because many people need someone to run their lives.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Apr 17, 2019, 08:27 PM

24. Is it associated with exposure to common insecticides?

That's a study I'd like to do. It might explain a lot.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 03:43 AM

25. "... We hypothesized that the vmPFC represents diverse religious beliefs and that a vmPFC lesion

would be associated with religious fundamentalism ... If the vmPFC is crucial to modulating diverse personal religious beliefs, we predicted that pTBI patients with lesions to the vmPFC would exhibit greater fundamentalism, and that this would be modulated by cognitive flexibility and trait openness. Instead, we found that participants with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) lesions have fundamentalist beliefs similar to patients with vmPFC lesions and that the effect of a dlPFC lesion on fundamentalism was significantly mediated by decreased cognitive flexibility and openness. These findings indicate that cognitive flexibility and openness are necessary for flexible and adaptive religious commitment ..."

Neuropsychologia. 2017 Jun;100:18-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.04.009. Epub 2017 Apr 6.
Biological and cognitive underpinnings of religious fundamentalism.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28392301

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 05:21 AM

26. Wow liberals are as science-ignorant as conservatives

We just pick different topics to be ignorant about.

This study is clearly an example of damage *can* cause X, not X *is caused by* damage.

Brain damage can also create savants. Is religion just spiritual savantism?

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