A recent study out of Finland used fMRI to examine the brain activity of 12 people who believe in the supernatural and 11 people who don’t. They imagined certain life situations, then looked at photos of inanimate objects. The “believers” were more likely to see meaning in the images and interpret signs of the way the situation was going to turn out. While the brain scans of both groups were largely similar, the skeptics had more activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus, a region involved in cognitive inhibition. The results suggest that everyone instinctively believes in the supernatural, but skeptics override their superstitious nature.

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