Once we had evolved the necessary brain architecture, we could “do” religion, brain scans indicate.
The research shows that, to interpret a god’s intentions and feelings, we rely mainly on the same recently evolved brain regions that divine the feelings and intentions of other people.
“We’re interested to find where in the brain belief systems are represented, particularly those that appear uniquely human,” says lead researcher, Jordan Grafman of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland.
The researchers found that such beliefs “light up” the areas of our brain which have evolved most recently, such as those involved in imagination, memory and “theory of mind” — the recognition that other people and living things can have their own thoughts and intentions.
“They don’t tell us about the existence of a higher order power like God,” says Grafman. “They only address how the mind and brain work in tandem to allow us to have belief systems that guide our everyday actions.” [Full Article]