Archive for the ‘Neurological Info’ Category
They find that risk prediction and processing of emotions are neurologically related.
The results were published on 12 marched in the Journal of Neuroscience and shed light on why certain risks and financial risks are often underestimated. It could also help understand addictive behaviors like drug use or gambling, which could be caused by poor assessment of risk assumed.
Planning involves making predictions. In certain environments, however, our predictions are not accurate. An erroneous prediction of risk often leads to unusual behavior: euphoria or excessive gambling when risk is underestimated, and panic attacks or depression when we predict that things are riskier than they really are. To understand these anomalous reactions to uncertain situations face, we need to study the neural mechanisms that underlie how we learn to predict risk.
Surprisingly little research had been conducted on this topic and no one knew how the brain is involved in predicting risk.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a task of bet, in which the risk is constantly changing, the researchers found that early activation of the anterior insula of the brain is associated with mistakes in predicting risk. The activation time course also indicates a role in rapid updating, and this suggests that this brain region is related to how we learn to modify our risk predictions.
The result is interesting because the island is a place where we integrate and process emotions.
Field experts deem as very important discovery, because it indicates that we need to update our understanding of the neural basis of reward anticipation in uncertain conditions to include risk assessment.
Contrary to what Descartes said, the finding that risk prediction and processing of emotions are related suggests that emotions may be intimately related to rational decision making, and they could help us assess the risk such correct in an uncertain world.
Researchers show that our brains for money is as important as the social status we have.
Cover of Neuron. Photo: Lydia Kibiuk and Ethan Tyler, NIH Division of Medical Arts.
What is more important money or social status? According to the researchers National Institute of Mental Health in the region of the brain called the striatum weighs against each other when making decisions, both being important. In fact, the neural circuits involved are activated by important events related to a change in hierarchical status as intensely as when you win money.
Those who dream of a classless society may be frustrated with this result, because the perception of the hierarchy is deeply etched in our brains, and therefore in our biological nature.
In addition, these researchers suggest that our social status strongly influences our motivations, as well as our mental and physical health.
Previous studies showed that social status is a good indicator of health. In animals stressed by their social position was observed to have cardiovascular problems and suffering from anxiety and depression. In a classic study in the civil service of the United Kingdom found that lower-ranking individuals were more likely to have health problems and more likely to die prematurely. A low range compromised their health through psychological effects. Thus, the limitation of control over our own lives or our relationships with others, inherent in having a low range, finally passed a bill on health. On the other hand, hierarchies with mobility, which could go up and down the ranks, was that those who were at the summit suffered from stress-related problems to the possibility of losing their position.
Caroline Zink, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg and colleagues used functional MRI to study this issue. They created an artificial hierarchy with 72 volunteers who played individually to a specially designed computer game with which they could earn real money while their brain activity was monitored. They were assigned a rank in a hierarchy based on their alleged fictitious skills by playing the game in relation to other “players” simulated. The study subjects, who underwent the experiment individually, unaware that the other players playing the same were fictitious. But while playing the actual participants could see the scores and pictures of the other “players” inferior or superior in rank and allegedly played in different rooms simultaneously. The researchers could control the effect that the results of others on the proband had manipulated the results of fictional players.
They were assured that the results of others does not affect their monetary gain, thus would effect only on its position in the hierarchy.
Though they knew the score of others did not affect their own performance and rewards (in fact told them to ignore), brain activity and behavior of the participants were strongly influenced by his own position in the hierarchy against of the other. That is, the players were concerned about their position in the hierarchy even though it did not influence the money they earned.
According to Zink processing of hierarchical information seems to be ingrained in our brains, occurring even outside of an environment “competitive”, stressing how important it is for us.
Among the results may be mentioned that the ventral striatum responded to the possibility of increase or decrease in the range as much as a monetary reward, confirming the high value of social status.
With only see a player of higher rank, as opposed to a lower, activated an area near the front of the brain that appears to size people, making interpersonal judgments and assessing social status.
A circuit on the front center of the brain that processes the intentions and motivations of others, and deep regions of the brain that process emotion, were activated when the hierarchy became unstable, allowing for movement up or down.
Play better than a senior player activated regions that control the action planning while playing worse than an inferior player activated brain regions associated with emotional pain and frustration.
The more positive was the disposition or mood experienced by players to win was stronger brain activity in the emotional pain circuitry when they viewed an outcome that fell through the ranks. That is, people who felt more joy when they won also felt more pain when they lost. This activation of emotional pain circuitry may be behind the risk of health problems resulting from competitive stress among individuals.
The key is that this provides evidence that our brain considers the hierarchical position as important as other types of rewards and we measure our benefits in terms of the benefits of others. Our brains would be exquisitely sensitive to the hierarchical position. If the hierarchy is stable we can ignore those who are below and concentrate on those above. If unstable, and we could lose our status, so are the emotions and problems.
Now these researchers are planning to continue the study in patients with mental problems like schizophrenia or autism. They are also exploring a particular gene variants that may affect the brain’s response in such experiments.
Scientists manage to recognize the words in which individuals think with a high level of correct answers.
The speed at which neuroscience is progressing so it’s hard to assimilate its results and implications scientific, philosophical, and social policies from them. Although only a few months ago we speculated from this site on the ability to read minds, appear that it is taking shape, appearing in the real world which until recently seemed science fiction.
Now scientists have taken an important step in understanding how the human brain codes the meanings of words by creating a computer model that can predict patterns of brain activity associated with the names of objects that the individual can see, hear , feel, smell or taste.
Previous studies showed that using images from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) could detect which brain areas are activated when a person thinks of a specific word. The team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon has gone a step further in predicting these patterns of activity for objects perceived by the senses.
The study could eventually be used to identify thoughts and could have applications in the study of autism and other disorders like paranoid schizophrenia, or semantic dementias such as Pick’s disease. The model can also help resolve questions about how the brain processes words and language.
The team, led by Tom M. Mitchell and Marcel Just, created the computer model using fMRI activity patterns for 60 objects and using statistical analysis of texts totaling more than a billion words. The computer model combines this information on how names are used within a text to predict patterns of brain activity for thousands of individual words on a pretty good success. To achieve this it was assumed that the brain processes words based on how they relate to motor and sensory information.
Mitchell believes he has identified a number of building blocks that are used by the brain to represent meanings. Thanks to computational methods that capture the meaning of words by how they are used in text files, these blocks can be assembled to predict neural activation patterns for each specific name. The researchers found that for specific words, the predictions are quite similar to actual patterns obtained by fMRI available. That is, they were able to make predictions and experimental test them, and therefore could know, with a relative margin of safety, in which word he thought a particular individual.
This computational model provides clues to the nature of human thought. The brain represent the actual meaning of a name in brain areas associated with how people feel or manipulate the actual object they belong. For example, the meaning of an apple would be represented in areas responsible for the taste, smell and feel when you chew. An apple would be for what you do with it. This study represents a further step in understanding the brain code.
Remember that the names or words that studies this particular model correspond to objects that can be perceived by the senses. Abstract words fall outside this category.
In addition to this representation in motor and sensory areas of the brain, researchers found significant activity in other areas, including frontal areas associated with functions related to planning and long-term memory. When someone thinks of an apple, for example, trigger memories of the last time the individual in question ate an apple or start thinking about getting an apple.
All this, according to the authors, suggests a theory of meaning based on brain function.
In the study nine subjects, of which fMRI images were obtained, they had to focus on 60 different names of 12 different semantic categories including animals, body parts, buildings, clothing, insects, vehicles, plants, etc..
When constructing the computational model the researchers used self-learning techniques to analyze computer names on texts, totaling a billion words, which constitute the corpus of typical use of the English language. For each name their frequency calculated simultaneously with each of the 25 verbs associated with sensory and motor functions (see, hear, hear, smell, eat, drive, drive, lift, etc..). This is done routinely in computational linguistics to characterize the use of words.
These 25 verbs appear to be the building blocks that the brain uses to represent the meaning of such words.
Using statistical information to analyze the patterns of brain activity were volunteers during the test to the 60 words of encouragement, the researchers were able to determine how their simultaneous occurrence with each of the 25 verbs considered affected the activity of each voxel (volume elementary three-dimensional) images of fMRI.
To predict activity patterns for each word contained specific reference texts, the computational model determined the simultaneous appearance of a name next to the 25 basic verbs and reconstructed a map of activity based on that data. The model was able to predict patterns for thousands of words.
The computational model was trained with data from the activity patterns of nine volunteers based in 58 of the 60 stimulus words. For experimental verification of the model is called the computer system to predict the pattern for the other 2 remaining cases of those already in possession of the actual activity patterns. The success rate was around 77 percent.
The model demonstrated its ability to predict activity patterns even in semantic areas for which no training. He turned to train the model, but only for words for 10 of the 12 semantic categories, trying then to words belonging to these two categories. For example, it eliminated the categories of vehicles and plant and testing the model for the words airplane and celery. In this case, the success rate was down to 70%, but was still above 50%.
In summary, this study shows a method to read a very large set of thoughts from brain activity with an efficiency greater than 3 of 4, even when few calibration data.
Although now only be read single words, reading sentences would not be far away. Researchers can take these names as the scaffolding with which to begin to understand how the brain uses several words and assembles them into phrases. In the future, researchers plan to study the activity patterns for adjective-noun combinations, prepositional phrases and simple sentences. Also hope to study how the brain represents abstract names and concepts.
Researchers have linked the effect of bias in favor of ownership to a specific region of the brain responsible for feelings of fear of loss.
When people want to sell their favorite possessions, like your car or your iPod, put a high price, but do not assume the same price if the object belongs to a third party. This effect is analyzed by some economists and explain behavior, among other things, why the house price does not drop suddenly to burst the bubble. We ask a lot more for something we already have what you would pay to have it, because we imagine the feeling we’d have if we let the object to which we are so attached.
In a recent study researchers have linked the effect of holding or bias in favor of ownership (endowment effect) to a specific region of the brain responsible for feelings of fear of loss. The finding could lead to a better understanding of how humans decide if a product is worth the price you have set.
To study this effect a team of neuroscientists led by Brian Knutson of Stanford University studied the brain activity of 24 people (men and women) while they haggled the price of some popular gadgets. These individuals were given various electronic toys such as iPods and digital cameras with which they could stay after the experiment. They were asked to decide whether they wanted to buy or sell at certain prices while measuring brain activity mediating functional MRI.
Apparently, according to data of brain activity, fear controlled transactions. The right insula, which is the brain region associated with the anticipation of negative consequences such as pain, was more active when participants made decisions about the sale of objects possessing that when it came to other objects.
The higher the activity in that brain region most likely were the sellers to ask for a higher price for their possessions that they were willing to pay for the same objects of another individual.
The results suggest that the anticipation of pain to deliver possession is what drives the bias in favor of ownership. We simply can not bear the thought of losing a cherished object. The researchers published this finding in the June 12 Neuron.
According Hackjin Kim of Korea University in Seoul, the finding could help create a better economic model to predict the choices people make about the products, relationships and other issues. In the near future may be achieved with very good accuracy to predict trends in behavior among individuals when buying or selling an object by studying the brain response.
But other experts like Gregory Berns of Emory University neuroeconomist disagrees with this analysis. Not convinced that the insula cause bias in favor of ownership. Activation of this region could simply indicate, he says, people susceptible to this effect is emotionally excited by the prospect of selling some of his, but the island itself would not put a higher price to the object.
In order to confirm either possibility could do experiments in the deletion of the activity of the insula and thus check whether to suppress or bias in favor of ownership. Devices have recently been developed which, by applying an intense magnetic field, can temporarily stop the activity of specific brain regions. Perhaps we may know soon.
Identified a key region of the brain that encourages us to be adventurous, and is located in a primitive area of the brain.
Do you like extreme sports? Have you kayak down the Colorado River or performed an African Safari? Will often to restaurants that serve exotic food? When going to the supermarket and see a new product, did you check to cart? Maybe now read these lines from the jungle of Borneo satellite. If the answer is yes probably likes adventure, novelty.
Now a group of scientists from the Wellcome Trust has successfully identified a key region of the brain that encourages us to be adventurous. The region, located in a primitive area of the brain are activated when we choose unfamiliar option, suggesting that there is an evolutionary advantage if you tend to explore the unknown. This finding may also explain why the changed the appearance of a product family are encouraged to choose it from the shelves of the supermarket.
In the experiment conducted at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London. In it a few volunteers were shown a selection of cards with images that became familiar. Each card was also associated with a unique reward probability and during the experiment the volunteers were able to optimize their choices for maximum reward. However, when introduced unfamiliar picture cards researchers found that volunteers were more likely to risk a new decision to continue with the familiar and safe options.
With an apparatus of functional magnetic resonance imaging could also see the brain activity of volunteers. Bianca Wittmann and his colleagues realized that when subjects chose an unfamiliar card had increased activity in the ventral striatum. This brain region is one of the most primitive from the evolutionary point of view, suggesting that this phenomenon must be evolutionarily advantageous and likely have many other animals.
When we make a decision or carry out an action that turns out to be beneficial then you get a reward by releasing dopamine. This reward helps us learn which behaviors are preferable and advantageous or worth being repeated. The ventral striatum is one of the key regions related to reward processing in the brain. Although these scientists can not say with confidence from magnetic resonance images how the search for novelty is rewarded, Wittmann believes it must be through a process of dopamine release.
However, although the exploration of novelty can give advantages to encourage us to find most beneficial decisions than usual, you can also make us susceptible to exploitation.
According to Wittmann we have a preference for a particular brand of chocolates, but if you use another package put in the “new taste” or something similar we can see tempted to discard the usual choice and choose the new one. This would introduce a dangerous system of selling “the same wine in different bottle,” something that marketing departments could be used (if not done already).
There is an even more dangerous. The novelty seeking may also play an important role in addiction to gambling and drugs, which are mediated by malfunctions malfunctioning circuit dopamine release.
According to one study, children are prone to empathy and moral judgment.
Are we born with moral judgment or pre-installed in our brains make it through education? ¿Children distinguish between good and evil? We know that the human brain matures slowly and only reaches its full maturity when adolescence ends, Does this affect moral judgment? These questions are certainly very interesting to try to answer. Now we begin to see some of your answers.
According to researchers at the University of Chicago children between seven and twelve years of age seem naturally inclined to feel empathy for the pain of others. This result is based on functional magnetic resonance imaging and is similar to that obtainable in adults. Then, and according to these data, children, like adults, show a response to pain in the same brain regions.
The researchers also discovered additional aspects of brain activity, manifested when subjects see another person being hurt by a third party intentionally and that would be related to moral judgment.
According to Jean Decety this study examines both the neural response to pain of others as the impact to see someone causing pain to another.
An article entitled “Who Caused the Pain? An fMRI Investigation of Empathy and Intentionality in Children “published in Neuropsychologia describing these results and the experimental method used.
According to these researchers empathy would be preprogrammed in the brain of normal children and would not be entirely a product of parental education or social environment. According to Decety understanding the role of the brain in response to pain can help researchers understand how certain brain impairments influence anti-social behavior, as in the case of bullying.
The researchers showed 17 children (in the group were eight boys and nine girls) between 7 and 12 years old pictures and animations of people suffering pain. Receiving pain was inflicted accidentally or on purpose. The brain activity of subjects was studied as both a functional magnetic resonance system.
The images from this system showed that parts of the brain that were activated in these subjects were the same as those activated in adults under the same conditions.
The perception of others’ pain was associated with increased hemodynamic activity (blood flow) in the neural circuitry involved in processing pain first-hand. However, when the children saw images of someone intentionally causing pain, the brain region that were activated were related to social interaction and moral reasoning.
The study provides clues about the perception that children have about what they are good and what is wrong, and brain processing. According to Decety, although the study draws no explicit moral judgment, perception of an intention to harm another individual makes the conscious observer of moral evil.
Subsequent interviews that were made to show children that they were aware of moral misconduct when someone was hurt intentionally visionadas animations. Thirteen of them said that such situations were unfair and asked for the reasons that could explain the observed behavior.
Children under 8 years of learning a completely different way to adults. A child of this age learn from the positive retrolimentation rather than errors.
Humans learn from our mistakes. As adults we know that if we perform our tasks bad we impose a corrective. Even if we behave really bad punishment can be raised and give our bones in jail. We also want to think that if we perform well we will be rewarded in some way. Perhaps this is the meritocratic system that has allowed the advance or dehumanize the capitalist system, do not know. But how does this type of positive or negative feedback in the brain? Does it work well in children?
A recent study of children 8 years learning a completely different way to adults. A child of this age learn from the positive retrolimentation. Thus, if we reinforce good behavior of a child of that age with a “well done” the child will learn from experience. However, not learn from negative feedback. Scolding thus be less effective than in the first case of positive reinforcement.
Children under 12 years operate best in contrast and negative reinforcement does work best for you. For adults is equal to the latter, but a more efficient manner.
Eveline Crone and colleagues from Leiden University have shown that this transition of learning from the successes to learn from mistakes seen in brain activity, especially in cognitive control regions of the cerebral cortex.
This system used a functional magnetic resonance imaging and three volunteer groups composed of children aged 8 and 9, children 11 and 12 and adults 18 to 25 years.
For the experiments the scientists involved were assigned to all the volunteers a series of tasks to be performed with a computer as they watched their brain activity. The tasks required to find out about the rules of a game. If they did properly appear in the display a signal informing, otherwise a cross appeared.
They found that in children aged 8 or 9 years of cognitive control certain regions of the cortex react strongly to positive reinforcement, but did not respond at all to negative feedback. In children of 12 or 13 years and in adults was the reverse: their cognitive control centers are more strongly activated by negative reinforcement, and much less positive.
Crone was surprised at the results. He hoped that brain activity was the same for all ages, although the answers may have different intensity. Children are learning all the time, therefore, this new information might be interesting for those who educate children to adapt their teaching methods according to age.
According Cron children 8 years learn efficiently, but do so differently than they do the older ones.
According to the literature on pedagogy seems that children respond better to reward than punishment, and this new result would be consistent with it. According Cron reason would be that the information on what went wrong would be more complicated to process than the opposite. Learning from mistakes is more complex than follow the same path.
Perhaps the difference in learning among children 8 years and the 12 is due to experience or a combination of experience and brain maturation, although not yet know the answer.
There is a brain region that responds strongly to positive reinforcement: the basal ganglia, just outside the cerebral cortex. The activity of this brain area does not change, remaining at the same level of activity for the three groups.
People with an autistic spectrum disorder belonging to are less likely to make irrational decisions and less likely to be swayed by his baser instincts. This would reinforce the idea that autism could be related to an altered emotional state.
Decision making is a complex process that engages both intuition and rational analysis. Rational thinking is slow, while intuition is much faster. However, the latter is less reliable, based on heuristics and on instinct.
Previous studies found that the answer to a problem depended on the “framing effect”. Thus if a patient is that you had a 80% chance of succeeding an operation would tend to give their consent more easily than if he said he had a 20% chance of not going out, although statistically is exactly the same thing.
Ray Dolan and his group at University College London have used this effect to study people with various autism spectrum disorders (ASD). According to the National Autistic Society these disorders affect one in every hundred people in the UK. These diseases range from mild conditions such as Asperger syndrome, a highly disabling conditions such as Rett syndrome. Symptoms vary widely in severity and include language problems, poor social interaction and behavioral patterns and rigid thinking.
The study participants had to perform various tasks that had to decide whether or not to bet a certain sum of money. Thus for example, were given 50 pounds and two options. Option A could be left with 20 pounds of those 50 and lose the rest. In option B could bet that money with a 40% chance of getting those same 50 pounds and 60% of losing everything. This version was called “gain frame”. Note that playing repeatedly with option B gain long-term average is also 20 pounds.
Other times they were presented with a “frame loss” under exactly the same conditions but in which for option A were told to lose 30 pounds 50.
Although option A is essentially the same in both frames of play, the researchers found that control subjects who had no kind of autistic disorder were more likely to gamble in the context of loss than of gain. In individuals with ASD, the difference was much smaller. This suggests that individuals of the latter group are less susceptible to the framing effect, ie, they are guided less by irrational emotions in elections.
According to Neil Harrison people with autism tend to be more consistent in their patterns of choice and perhaps his greatest attention to detail will help you avoid being dominated by emotions. According to Benedetto De Martino, but this attention to detail and this reduction is beneficial emotional influence on decision making, sometimes a burden in everyday life.
During social interactions a lot of information must be processed simultaneously, with a complicated task to compute by the brain. To solve this complex problem simplifications use heuristics (intuition) rather than a deep logical reasoning. However, the price to pay for this ability is that sometimes irrelevant contextual information leads to inconsistent or illogical decisions.
Perhaps the less reliance on intuition of autism is below their difficulties in social situations, but also allows them to avoid potentially irrelevant emotional information and produce more consistent with elections.
The study supports previous research suggesting that the key difference in people with some form of ASD when decisions may lie in the amygdala, a brain region critical processing related to emotion. In 2006 a study published in Science by De Martino and colleagues showed that decision making was associated with activity in the amygdala. It has been shown that the amygdala of people with ASD differ with respect to the rest of the people in neuronal density, although not in size.
Harrison believes their research may play an important role when it comes to highlight the strength of people with ASD. He says his study shows a positive strength in people with autism, and a concentration on skills and disability in people with autism will give us a better understanding of such conditions as they are provided with assistance that allowed to have lives richer and fuller.
An international group of neuroscientists succeed in finding the neurological basis of blindness to the faces.
We commented last year on this site that those affected by results of “blindness to the faces” congenital represented a much higher percentage than what was estimated previously, namely 2% of the population. Prosopagnosia or “face blindness to” is a neurological condition that prevents sufferers recognize people by their face. We all know how uncomfortable it is when we fail to recognize someone who greets us. Imagine then what it’s like the social life of those who never fail to recognize a face.
Now, for the first time, scientists have been able to map the disruption of neural circuitry of people suffering from congenital prosopagnosia. They have also been able to offer a biological explanation for this intriguing disorder.
Affecting 2% of the population congenital prosopagnosia manifests as an inability to recognize faces in the absence of obvious neurological damage in individuals with intact vision and intelligence.
A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Kings College (London) and Ben-Gurion University (Israel) used functional diffusion tensor tactografía and to analyze the brains of a group of subjects aged 33 to 72 years and study this disorder. They found that, unlike normal brains, the brains of people suffering from congenital prosopagnosia showed a reduction in white matter integrity in the region of visual cortex. Furthermore, the extent of this reduction in white matter was related to the severity of the condition.
White matter is one of the three main components of the nervous system. It is a tissue through which messages pass between different areas of gray matter of the nervous system. People with congenital prosopagnosia can not recognize faces, while their ability to recognize objects intact.
This discovery could lead to a better understanding of other neurological disorders such as dyslexia, in which a neurological disorder similar could be present.
In many cases, congenital prosopagnosia is genetically inherited and this result may help in attempts to find relationships between genetics and cortical development.
This disorder is also interesting because it helps to understand how and under what conditions the brain is or is not “plastic”, as these individuals seem unable to compensate for their inability to recognize faces even when they had more than enough opportunity to do so throughout his life. In cases other than the brain injury that incapacitates something is ultimately compensated when other parts of the brain learn to assume the functions previously performed by the affected party.
Very few therapies have been developed to help people with prosopagnosia, although individuals often learn to use strategies of recognition “feature by feature” or secondary indicators such as hair color, voice or body shape. Because the face seems to function as a typical feature identification in memory, it may be difficult for people with this condition keep information about people or lead a social life and that of others.
Religion may be a byproduct of the evolved architecture of our brain.
Researchers show that to interpret the intentions and feelings of God we use the same recently evolved brain regions that we use to understand the feelings and intentions of others.
Jordan Grafman and his colleagues at the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda (Maryland) are interested in finding where in the brain belief systems reside and representation, particularly those that appear to be uniquely human.
These researchers found that brain areas activated beliefs that evolved more recently, such as those related to the imagination, memory and theory of mind (the recognition that other beings have their own thoughts and intentions).
Grafman says this does not speak of the existence of a higher power like God, only tells us how the mind and brain work together to allow us to have a belief system that guides our actions.
In the study, researchers examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging the brain of 40 volunteers responded believers as certain statements reflecting three core elements of their belief system. They had to score on a scale whether they agreed or disagreed with each statement.
The volunteers were believers of monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Islam or Judaism.
First they must respond to the claim that if God intervened in the world or not hearing a phrase like “God is removed from this world.” In this case, brain activity was focused mainly in the lateral frontal lobe, where the theory of mind normally resides and allows us to interpret the intentions of others. This region binds neurons that allow us to empathize with others.
Secondly they must react to a statement about the emotional state of God as “God is angry.” Again, as the researchers had predicted, activated areas related to theory of mind and allow us to judge the intentions of others as the frontal and temporal gyri average.
Finally, the volunteers had to hear statements reflecting the abstract language and imagery of religion with phrases like “Jesus is the Son of God,” “God demands the observance of the Sabbath” or “will be given the resurrection of the dead.” In this case the brain activity occurred in the temporal gyrus, which decodes metaphorical and abstract meanings.
Usually the parts of the brain activated by religious claims were those that are used in more mundane interpretations of the everyday world and to interpret the intentions of others. However, they are significantly more recently evolved and apparently humans are the insights that no other animals.
According to researchers the results are unique, and demonstrate that specific components of religious belief are mediated by well-known neural networks, building and contemporary psychological theories that claim that the foundations of religious beliefs are based on adaptive cognitive functions appeared by evolution .
Thus, the same features as evolutionarily appeared to give us a competitive advantage over other species would be used later to install culturally religious systems. According to this religion would thus be an evolutionary byproduct.
According to other researchers in the field this result is not surprising and in the background are the same mechanisms that allow us to interpret, for example, the characters in a novel. Would also strengthen the theory that it is crucial a high level of intentionality in the development of a complete religious system as we know it.