This is an article that seems to explain a lot about why devoutly religious people cannot intelligently and rationally deconstruct their belief system or faith. When the religious hear someone speak the "word of god" or pray, the regions of their brains involved in skeptical thinking and vigilance appear to shut down.
Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian.
Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness.
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