Study finds impact of science and religion on human brain


A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE has claimed to find the reason why there have been two segments of society; one includes those who support religion while another is of those who believe in science and not religion. According to the study team, difference which arises in perception of both groups is led by difference in their brains.
The study was conducted by researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Babson College on 159 to 527 adults. There were total eight experiments to know why some people take reference from religion to explain several things, whereas other lay emphasis on scientific evidence. The practice is continuing since centuries.
The Cognitive psychology studies claimed that people who are religious or spiritual seem to be less smart and intelligent than those who are more science centric. Also, people who are more religious turn to be also more empathic and pro-social. That is why more women than men are religious. On the other hand, atheists are found to lack empathy.
“When there's a question of faith, from the analytic point of view, it may seem absurd”, says study lead author Tony Jack. The findings also stated that more a person is religious more will be empathy in him. There is a positive correlation of faith and empathy with number of times individuals pray, meditate and engage in religious practices.
The study has its basis from the hypothesis that the human brain consists of two brain regions that oppose each other. People who are religious suppress the brain area used for analytical thinking, while the opposite is the case with people with scientific approach.
Both groups tend to ignore naturalistic view. What they should do is to have both approaches that are possible to follow together. The humans are made to both socialize and learn using the two networks of the brain. Such people are intellectually elite and understand that it is not necessary for science and religion to clash.
In a report published by the I4U, "It has now been found that in order to show belief in a supernatural entity or entities, human beings have to shut down the analytical centers of the brain. Instead the empathetic network must be activated."
"But, from what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking to help us achieve greater social and emotional insight."
According to a report in Tech Times by Rina Marie Doctor, "The results of the study showed that the more religious a person is, the more emphatic he or she is. However, the authors were not able to establish a cause and effect relationship for that."
They also found that both faith and empathy had a positive association with how many times individuals pray, meditate and engage in religious practices.
Despite its popularity, the team did not note a positive relationship between belief and mentalizing or interpreting behavior via intentional mental conditions such as needs, wants and goals.
"Controversy between faith and scientific evidence is deeply rooted in beliefs surrounding evolution and creationism. The recent study examines how the parts of the brain responsible for empathy and analytical reasoning are linked to faith and spiritual thinking," according to a news report published by HNGN.
"They actually might claim they are less intelligent," added Richard Boyatzis, a professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve. "Our studies confirmed that statistical relationship, but at the same time showed that people with faith are more prosocial and empathic."

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