Brain Shuts Off In Response To Healer’s Prayer

By Andy Coghlan for New Scientist:

When we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. That’s the finding of a study which looked at people’s response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers.

To identify the brain processes underlying the influence of charismatic individuals, Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues turned to Pentecostal Christians, who believe that some people have divinely inspired powers of healing, wisdom and prophecy.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians…

[continues in New Scientist]

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  • E.B. Wolf

    What a revelation! I never would have believed that people's critical thinking could be interrupted be a cleverly designed scam if a group of scientists hadn't tested the theory with brain imaging technology.

  • empty

    This is exactly what Yogis and magicians of the western hermetic tradition have always said (or hinted) to be true. In order to access higher states you must overcome the rational mind. Only then can the spirit (or heart, which has brain cells and a magnetic field 5000 times stronger than the brain) be accessed.

    Those mired in the rational mind, unable to overcome it and perceive the greater mystery, see this as proof that prayer is simple foolishness and stupid.

    The poetry of all this is exquisite.

    • Word Eater

      Personal meditation is one thing; allowing a third party to shut off your critical thinking while you subconsciously absorb whatever they are selling is entirely different and not very smart.

      • ya

        Unless it's personally conditioned response which makes the person who's state changes much more in charge of what's happening than the supposed “healer”. I'm pretty sure that in most cases that this is a trained response in the individual and is much like certain aspects of trained brain change seen in yoga or what nlp people call “state maintenance”

  • ya

    Unless it’s personally conditioned response which makes the person who’s state changes much more in charge of what’s happening than the supposed “healer”. I’m pretty sure that in most cases that this is a trained response in the individual and is much like certain aspects of trained brain change seen in yoga or what nlp people call “state maintenance”