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Scientists use magnets to change attitudes on immigration, religion

Researchers from the University of York have used magnetic energy to suppress humans’ ‘threat-response’ functions and dramatically change people’s attitudes to immigration.

Psychologists used magnetic force to safely shut down the region of the brain associated with “threat-response functions” and conducted a series of tests where volunteers were asked questions about their beliefs.

Scientists found the people were less likely to have negative views when the magnetic force was applied to the posterior medial frontal cortex, positioned a few inches up from the forehead.

In the study, half of participants were given a low-level placebo-like level of magnetic energy that did not affect their brain, while the other half received enough energy to lower activity in the target area.



Volunteers were then asked to think about death, after which they were asked questions about their religious beliefs and attitudes on immigration.

Researchers from the University of York and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), discovered those whose frontal cortex was temporarily shut down reported 32.8 percent less belief in God, angels or heaven.

Volunteers were screened prior to the investigation to ensure they held religious beliefs.

The participants were also 28.5 percent more positive in their feelings toward an immigrant who criticized their country.

Dr. Keise Izuma said volunteers were reminded about death because people are more likely to turn to ideologies when they think of dying.