By Colin Fernadez For The Daily Mail
Published: 00:01 BST, 12 June 2019 | Updated: 09:22 BST, 12 June 2019
Brain scans on fanatical Islamists show they have a reduced capacity for rational thought, new research suggests.
Members of a radical Islamist group were asked how willing they were to ‘fight and die’ for their ideas.
Their brains were then scanned during the process.
The results showed that when questioned, the part of the brain that engages in evaluating costs and consequences showed reduced activity.
Impact: Brain scans on fanatical Islamists show they have a reduced capacity for rational thought, new research conducted by the University of Michigan suggests
The scientists say this shows that when it comes to values held ‘sacred’ to the radicals, they are immune to arguments involving costs and benefits.
The research highlights the difficulties of trying to ‘deradicalise’ someone.
This is because the region of the brain that is engaged is resistant to argument.
But what did alter the views of the radical group was peer pressure.
If the participants were told that the overall opinion of other members of the community – Pakistani Muslims living in Barcelona – was less supportive of their position they would alter their views, being less likely to want to ‘fight and die.’
The researchers say that their findings fit in with ideas that radicals do not often abandon their core ‘sacred values’.
But they can become less willing to fight and die to uphold them.
To carry out the research, 146 members of a ‘radical Islamist group’ Lashkar et Taibar were recruited