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Religion Changes Your Brain

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posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:13 AM
This explains so much....

Protestants who did not identify themselves as born-again were found to have less atrophy in the hippocampus region than did born-again Protestants, Catholics or those with no religious affiliation. Frequency of worship was not found to have a bearing on results, while participants who said they had undergone a religious experience were found to have more atrophy than those who did not.

Atrophied brains and religion? Noooo!?
edit on 24-5-2011 by ossminid because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:41 AM
Interesting, although I suspect the weakness in the study is the lack of a genetically homogenous population to deal with. This can probably throw these preliminary conclusions into doubt.

Not that I doubt the validity of the general finding, because it sort of makes sense. People who simply "believe" can probably let whole portions of their brains completely relax, and not be bothered with too many details. Not so good for the brain, if parts unused tend to atrophy.

On the other hand, the study seems to also suggest that depression may be involved as well. Frankly, it can be depressing to believe that one day you will die, and possibly suffer eternal torments. Meantime, family and friends may die, and these poor folks get to imagine what their loved ones may be going through.

Bottom line, in both cases, not so healthy.

Good find, S & F.


posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:45 AM

Originally posted by ossminid
Atrophied brains and religion? Noooo!?

The actual journal article is here...

For those who cant be bothered reading it, the degradation in the hippocampus is listed below for the left and right areas.

Those who experienced Life Changing Religious Experience = -0.45, -0.32
Born Again Protestant = -0.15, -0.15
Catholic = -0.22, -0.12
No religious group = -0.28, -0.20

Personally, I'm taking all this with a grain of salt since the probability levels wernt massively large and the sample size was quite small. "No religious group", for example, was only 19 people.. "Life Changing Religious Experience" was only 13 people.
Since the experiment began in 1994, they also retained use of this old technology through the course of the experiment (for consistency). I'm not sure how good the imaging is with 1994 era MRI machines.

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:45 AM
So this happens because of religious practices or this is and therefore you are prone to religious practices?

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:50 AM
reply to post by ossminid

People with 'with no religious affiliation' have more brain atrophy than non-born-again-Protestants? I don't get it.

The idea that having a strong dogmatic ideology will shrink your brain does make sense though, as the saying goes 'religion is not a thinking man's game'.

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:53 AM
reply to post by Harro

Excellent question.

While I believe the study to be true, it needs to be more comprehensive to be believed by the general public.. There are a lot of other societal factors that can come into play here as well.

My first question after reading the OP was, would the results of the study be different for those that have traveled the world versus those that have lived their whole life in the same geographic area?

posted on May, 24 2011 @ 01:29 PM
I see a big problem with this. Brains which are atrophied and inflexible will be drawn to the thing that gives them comfort, inflexible religion. Thus, the religion did not cause this, it was just the place where they came to rest. Reverse the study and find the answer.

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