The neurons in your brain work in coordinated networks, with some mental webs enabling critical thinking, others encouraging empathy. Given a science problem, then, the brain’s analytical network will activate as it simultaneously suppresses the social network.
A new study, presented as a series of linked experiments, explores this fundamental conflict between thinking and feeling. The more empathetic you are, the more likely you will be religious, the researchers discovered, while on the flip side, if you tend to be analytic, you are more likely to find the concept of a higher power difficult to swallow.
“Analytic thinking and moral concern represent two cognitive modes which our neural architecture causes to be in competition with each other,” conclude the Case Western Reserve University and Babson College researchers.