Neuroscience and Religious Cognition Project

The Neuroscience and Religious Cognition Project, headed up by Patrick McNamara at the Boston VA Medical Center, is a multi-pronged, three-year research project to track the neurological roots of religious cognition. By combining fcMRI (functional connectivity MRI) brain scans with neuropsychological assessments and interviews, NRCP researchers are working to crack the secret of religion's relationship to dopamine networks, reward motivation, and self-control. The team is particularly studying Parkinson's disease patients, a subset of whom sometimes lose interest in their religious beliefs. Understanding how this process unfolds may help improve PD patients' quality of life while enhancing our understanding of the neural underpinnings of religious cognition. The video below explains the details of the project and shows what happens behind the scenes at the lab.