Can science give us insights into age-old questions about religion? In this talk, Dr. Michael Ferguson describes the study he and his team conducted on believing Mormons when they reported to "feel the Spirit," a central event in Mormon worship. What they found might surprise both believers and skeptics.
Michael Ferguson is inspired by questions about human brains and the gods they adore. His research program examines the intersections of culture and brain through the lenses of cutting-edge fMRI methods and cognitive neuroscience. Most recently, he is conducting interdisciplinary work with philosophy of mind to analytically describe intelligence. As a graduate student at the University of Utah’s department of bioengineering, he, his committee chair, and co-investigators designed and executed a first-of- its-kind fMRI study, looking at the brain activity of returned missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while the research participants were involved in acts of religious worship and devotion. Michael and his husband were the first same-sex couple legally married in the state of Utah, and they retain a major portion of their heart and love in Salt Lake City. They currently live in upstate New York, the spiritual cradle of their native faith.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx