No wonder religion is so popular – a new study found that thinking about God’s love lights up the same brain area as doing a line of cocaine.
Researchers from the University of Utah scanned the brains of young Mormons as they thought about God.
Dr Michael Ferguson, who led the study, said: ‘When our study participants were instructed to think about a saviour, about being with their families for eternity, about their heavenly rewards, their brains and bodies physically responded.’
The scans revealed that when the teenagers felt connected to God, an area of their brain called the nucleus accumbens was activated.
The nucleus accumbens is known as the brain’s “reward centre” and it is also activated when enjoy love, sex, drugs and gambling.
Neuroradiologist Dr Jeff Anderson, who also led the study, said: ‘We’re just beginning to understand how the brain participates in experiences that believers interpret as spiritual, divine or transcendent.’