"Pregadores desligam ceticismo dos crentes
Posted: 03 May 2010 05:44 PM PDT
interessante: um novo estudo neurocientífico mostra que os crentes
tendem a “emburrecer” quando ouvem orações de pastores,
principalmente se estes forem conhecidos como tendo poderes de cura.
O teste usou ressonância magnética para analisar o desempenho
cerebral de dois grupos de pessoas, 20 evangélicos pentecostais e 20
céticos. Eles ouviram várias orações pré gravadas e foram informados
que 6 delas foram feitas por céticos, 6 por pessoas religiosas e 6
por pastores que curam. O detalhe é que todas as orações foram
feitas por pessoas religiosas comuns.
No grupo dos céticos, não houve diferença nenhuma. Estes
simplesmente ignoraram as orações. Mas no grupo dos crentes houve um
efeito interessante. Para cada oração que eles achavam que era feita
por um religioso, determinadas áreas do cérebro relacionadas ao
ceticismo e à tomada de decisões tinham suas atividades reduzidas,
fazendo com que as cobaias entrassem em um estado quase de transe. O
efeito era mais forte nos casos em que se pensava que a oração era
realizada por um religioso dito com poder de cura.
O orador não precisava nem ser carismático (lembre-se que todos eram
simples cristãos e que, para efeito de pesquisa, eles trocavam as
mensagens). Bastava o crente ser avisado que ele estava escutando um
pastor que cura para sofrer o efeito.
O estudo não mostra exatamente onde está a relação casual, se por
exemplo os crentes acreditam nos pastores super poderosos por
acharem que eles falam mais a verdade do que os outros. De repente
tal efeito pode se aplicar em outras relações humanas, como aquelas
com doutores, advogados, mecânicos de automóveis e técnicos de
No entanto, o estudo me parece explicar como um pastor quase sem
carisma (e um tanto feio) como o Apóstolo Valdemiro Santiago
consegue tantos seguidores. Na verdade, explica como qualquer
igreja, mesmo as de fundo de quintal, parece prosperar. Ser pastor é
mais fácil do que parece."
Fonte: New Scientist, Epiphenon, Boing Boing
The hypnotic power of charismatic religion
By Tom Rees on Saturday, April 24, 2010
Whatever else you think about charismatic preachers, they have a
dramatic power over their audience. While their followers believe
them to have special powers, a new brain imaging study by Uffe
Schjødt at Aarhus University in Denmark suggests that it's all just
a product of their imagination.
In fact, the brain imaging study is only part of the story. What's
even more remarkable is what it says about how some people come to
fall under the spell of these charismatics.
What they did was to take a small group of pentecostal Christians
and a matched group of non-believers. Both were chosen so as to
represent the extreme ends of the belief scale.
They were asked to listen to prayers being read by three different
people who, they were told, were a non-Christian, an ordinary
Christian, and a Christian 'known for his healing powers'. In fact,
they were all ordinary Christians...
So there was no real difference between the prayers (the speakers
were mixed up to make sure differences in speaking style could not
affect the experiment). The only difference was what the listener
was told, but what a dramatic effect it had!
When asked, the pentecostalists rated the one they were told was a
healer as the most charismatic, and the person they thought was
non-religious as much less charismatic (see the graph). For the
non-believers, there was a slight trend in the same direction, but
it was small and insignificant. Basically, they weren't taken in by
But the pentecostalists were. Just telling a pentecostalists that
someone has healing powers makes them think that they are highly
charismatic. What's more, they didn't feel God's presence in the
prayers read by the person they were told was a non-Christian.
So where does the hypnotism come in? Well, specific regions of the
pentecostalist's brains became somewhat activated when listening to
the prayer from the 'non-believer', but highly deactivated when
listening to the prayer from the 'charismatic healer'. The prayer
from the ordinary Christian resulted in deactivation too, but on a
And the regions that were deactivated by the 'charismatic healer'
were all associated with 'executive function' - the part of the mind
that evaluates, monitors, and makes decisions. A similar response
has been seen in the brains of people undergoing hypnosis - as well
In other words, they went into a bit of a trance.
What Schjødt thinks is happening here is that, when we listen
someone we trust implicitly, we switch off our critical faculties,
and just let what they are saying wash over us. In the words of the
researchers, "subjects suspend or 'hand over' their critical faculty
to the trusted person."
Now, in this scenario the atheists were immune to the powers of the
charismatic preacher. But we shouldn't run away with the idea that
this is a particular characteristic of religious people. Stage
hypnosis shows that you that you can see similar effects in secular
situations - and Milgram's scary experiments in authority also
spring to mind.
What strikes me most about this study is that the charisma of the
preacher was all in the minds of the subjects. They were willing
And what this study also shows is just how closely linked the
razmatazz of charismatic preachers is to the showmanship of stage
hypnotists. They seem to be exploiting a common human weakness - and
one that has enormous power!
Hat tip: Paliban Daily and New Scientist.