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Brain shuts off in response to healer's prayer

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posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 12:41 PM

WHEN we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. That's the finding of a study which looked at people's response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers.

To identify the brain processes underlying the influence of charismatic individuals, Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues turned to Pentecostal Christians, who believe that some people have divinely inspired powers of healing, wisdom and prophecy.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians.

Only in the devout volunteers did the brain activity monitored by the researchers change in response to the prayers. Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian (Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsq023).

Schjødt says that 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's not clear whether the results extend beyond religious leaders, but Schjødt speculates that brain regions may be deactivated in a similar way in response to doctors, parents and politicians.


Very interesting and helps me understand politicians and the populace' response to charisma a little more. Damn the charisma! lol

[edit on 27-4-2010 by Crossfate]

[edit on 27-4-2010 by Crossfate]

posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 01:19 PM
Does their persuasiveness cause a persons brain to shut down. OR is it the effect of someone that decides for themselves that they are willing to listen.
It just as much makes sense to me that someone that decides that the information is relevent and true will determine not to be skeptical about what they are hearing. In which case that part of the brain is less active.
I take serious issue with some of the conclusions of these studies.
They are most often mixing cause and effect

[edit on 27-4-2010 by trueperspective]

posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 01:36 PM
It's called hypnosis. People do this to the weak minded all the time. Professional scam artists (politicians, sales men, marketers, etc..) often develop Ericksonian Hypnotic techniques to masterfully spell bind fools into giving obedience & funds.

It's disgusting.

Learn the techniques, and think critically at all times.


posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 01:43 PM
reply to post by unityemissions

I totally agree that hypnosis is real, BUT you have to want to be or willing to be fooled. It is still in the individual persons control to turn on or off that part of their own brain that decides if they will eat up the info blindly or keep a skeptical approach.
No one can control your brain without you wanting them to.

posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 01:47 PM
reply to post by trueperspective

This isn't entirely accurate. Please take the time to research hypnosis a little, I've only done so slightly, but have learned that few are naturally immuned to this without knowledge of what's going on. It has to do with accessing the non-dominant hemisphere of the brain. This is the one opposite of our language processing, and for most people ends up being the right brain. They program us on a subconscious, deeply emotional and even instinctual level. My theory is that only people who have their language center spread across both hemispheres can naturally discern what is taking place.

Perhaps it seems to some that this can only take place with our consent, because all we know is what we experience, and we seem to be able to control our thought processes by will alone. I'm not sure everyone works like this, in fact, I'd say few do. Are you left handed by chance? I am. Right brainers have a higher percentage of dual-hemisphere langauge processing. Perhaps we're just the "lucky" ones.

[edit on 27-4-2010 by unityemissions]

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