“We think that hearing criticisms of your group’s values, perhaps especially from a person you perceive as an outsider, is processed as an ideological sort of threat,” said Dr Izuma.
“One way to respond to such threats is to ‘double down’ on your group values, increasing your investment in them, and reacting more negatively to the critic,” he continued.
“When we disrupted the brain region that usually helps detect and respond to threats, we saw a less negative, less ideologically motivated reaction to the critical author and his opinions.”
Dr Colin Holbrook, from UCLA and the lead author of the paper, added: “These findings are very striking, and consistent with the idea that brain mechanisms that evolved for relatively basic threat-response functions are repurposed to also produce ideological reactions. However, more research is needed to understand exactly how and why religious beliefs and ethnocentric attitudes were reduced in this experiment.”
The scientists say that whether we’re trying to clamber over a fallen tree that we find in our path, find solace in religion, or resolve issues related to immigration, our brains are using the same basic mental machinery.
Read the whole article here: http://www.psypost.org/2015/10/scientists-reduce-belief-in-god-by-shutting-down-the-brains-medial-frontal-cortex-38516