Being 'born again' linked to brain atrophy.
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23-04-2012, 05:20 PM
RE: Being 'born again' linked to brain atrophy.
(23-04-2012 05:00 PM)Thomas Wrote:  Selective sampling.
Yeah... granted I've seen that before in studies in ones, not similar in type but similar in subjects, when you seek volunteers, you've automatically created a situation wherein the people have a similar personality type, potential background (like if you offer money), and who-knows-what depending on the phrasing at the time of offering.

I'm really just torn on it. I'm not saying it isn't true--but maybe not for the reasons or conclusions people would draw (ex: 'protestants aren't brain damaged') rather "discrimination hurts people physically" or something else. Eh, who knows. For that matter, I'd like to know what the backgrounds of the researchers were (ok, just searched two... one of them wants to study the social psychological processes mediating effects of religion and well-being... not saying that's bad [to be honest, I kind of thought of doing that at one time, like when I realized I didn't believe ["again"], and wondered why people would...]). Wait, and the study doesn't break the participants into gender, race, etc ("268 men and women aged 58 and over"). And nothing on the "structured psychiatric interview"? The questions they listed could've been a survey on a computer... OK. Not going to look at it anymore. I need to remind myself there is a reason why I ignore psychological studies if I can (I know all-too-well what can happen...).
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23-04-2012, 05:39 PM
RE: Being 'born again' linked to brain atrophy.
(23-04-2012 04:50 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  The data mined from this report is confusing. Not only is there quite a variation in shrinkage between the left and right hippocampus in nearly every example, but there's no way to know the source. Correlation doesn't prove causation... perhaps having factors that drive one to have an accelerated hippo-shrink process drives one to believe in religion. They posited that stress could be that missing factor, but it would appear that the scientists simply guessed that religiosity is more stressful.

It's still an interesting study, though, and it looks pretty clean and well-done (although I have to wonder why 2 out of 3 research participants were women).
I have to assume that some link was there between religion and stress. And that it was evaluated by a psychologist perhaps.

As for the article, I'm sure that just paraphrased the paper for their readers.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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23-04-2012, 06:00 PM
RE: Being 'born again' linked to brain atrophy.
(23-04-2012 04:20 PM)Godless Wrote:  Honestly this study also classifies atheists and other minorities as having a smaller hippo campus. However this study also places most protestants as the only ones devoid of this shrinkage.

I don't have too much time right here but here is a direct link to the study.

I'm curious to see if I can find other scientists who have done a cross study to verify these findings. If no other scientists come forward to cross check these studies then I think we have a clear answer on how "accurate" this study is.
I'm glad that you pointed this out. Studies like this are interesting, but unless they endure a heavy dose of peer review and replication, you simply can't put much stock in them.

But don't worry, there's still plenty of evidence (or lack thereof) to justify not buying what theism is selling Thumbsup

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