Research Topics

The Neurology of Belief

The difference between believing and disbelieving a proposition is one of the most potent regulators of human behavior and emotion. When one accepts a statement as true, it becomes the basis for further thought and action; rejected as false, it remains a string of words. The purpose of these studies is to differentiate belief, disbelief, and uncertainty at the level of the brain.


There were significant differences between blasphemous and non-blasphemous statements in both reigious people and atheists. These are regions that show greater signal both when Christians reject stimuli contrary to their doctrine (e.g. “The Biblical god is a myth”) and when nonbelievers affirm their belief in those same statements (pc = paracingulate gyrus; mf = middle frontal gyrus; vs = ventral striatum; ip = inferior parietal lobe; fp = frontal pole).

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