Study finds link between religious fundamentalism and brain damage



Why do some people behave like religious fundamentalists? There are various reasons for this, including some people who just behave this way because they have such beliefs. But a new study notes that, for some, there is a deeper explanation.

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A study published in the scientific journal Neuropsychology found that damage to areas of the brain’s prefrontal cortex appeared to indirectly influence attitudes of religious fundamentalism in individuals where such injuries were observed, Raw Story reported.

The damage to the brain in this region appeared to decrease the cognitive ability to be open and flexible to the lifestyles or belief systems of others. It also reduced the desire to be curious, creative and open-minded in general, the study noted.

Overall, those with severe damage to this area of ​​the brain were more likely to be religious fundamentalists than those with healthy brains in the prefrontal cortex.

Religious fundamentalism, it should be noted, is not an inherently violent way of behaving, although many fundamentalists have been known to act in this way. On the contrary, religious fundamentalism “represents a setback against some form of external imposition and a deep fear of” annihilation “, often at the hands of modern laity,” the Brookings Institute noted in 2012.

As noted in previous reports, the brains of conservatives and liberals tend to behave differently from each other. A 2011 study, for example, found that conservatives, in general, exhibited an “exaggerated neural response” greater than that found in the brains of liberals. Other studies have shown that conservatives are more likely to be fear-manipulated than liberals, based on cognitive research into subjects’ brain patterns.


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