An interesting story about a study into spiritualism carried out by Brick Johnstone is reported in the Mail's science section.
Brick (named after a favourite part of his parent's garden wall) led a team of researchers at the University of Missouri to investigate exactly where in the brain spirituality resides, commonly known as the God-spot. He compared MRI scans of both devout religious followers and cynical atheists and asked them to ponder on the big important questions affecting us all:
- Why are we here?
- What happens after we die?
- Where are my car keys?
Atheists showed some activity around the right parietal lobe but this rapidly fell away as they realised that they just didn't know the answers. The right parietal lobe is associated with several brain functions including self orientation, consideration of others and making shit up.
|Atheist brain activity|
However when the same scans were carried out on ardent followers of a religion (and it didn't matter which brand they were) a greater amount of activity was seen in these same lobes. These lobes, the green and blues areas in the scans below, are known to neurologists as the H C Andersen areas and are responsible for manufacturing stories and excuses. In addition to this several lesions were seen in the left hand lobe that are missing in people who don't think Jesus brings presents down their chimney every December.
|Believer brain activity|
"I can hardly believe he's found the G (God) spot after all these years. It must be down the the support of his team. Normally he just prods about randomly like a blind man using a typewriter."