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Are we hard-wired to believe we're IMMORTAL?

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  • Are we hard-wired to believe we're IMMORTAL?

    People across the world, regardless of their religion or culture, believe that humans are immortal, according to research.

    A new study has shed some light on people’s beliefs that a person's soul or essence transcends the physical body’s death.

    Scientists think the belief that part of us is eternal emerges early in life and is part of our human nature, rather than something that is imposed on a person by a culture or religion.


    +3

    People across the world, regardless of their religion or culture, believe that humans are immortal and


    Thank you bala

  • #2
    Researchers from Boston University, led by Natalie Emmons, examined children’s ideas about the time before conception and interviewed 283 children from two very different cultures in Ecuador.

    Her research suggests that we often think the part of us that is eternal is not our ability to reason, but our desires and emotions - so we are what we feel.

    The study, published in the journal Child Development, fits into a growing body of work examining the cognitive roots of religion


    Deborah Kelemen, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University and co-author of the paper, said: ‘This work shows that it's possible for science to study religious belief.’

    ‘At the same time, it helps us understand some universal aspects of human cognition and the structure of the mind.’

    Most studies into the possibility of an afterlife have found that both children and adults commonly believe that bodily needs such as hunger end when people die and emotions continue in some form, but they do not question where such beliefs come from.


    +3

    Professor Emmons showed children drawings of a baby, a young woman, and the same woman while pregnant, (pictured) then asked a series of questions about the child's abilities, thoughts and emotions during each period


    Researchers have long suspected that people develop ideas about the afterlife through cultural exposure or religious instruction, but Professor Emmons said ideas of immortality emerge from our intuition.

    She interviewed children from an indigenous Shuar village in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador, which she chose because they have no cultural pre-life beliefs and she suspected that children who have regular exposure to birth and death through hunting and farming, would have a more rational, biologically-based view of the time before they were conceived.

    For comparison, she also interviewed Roman Catholic children from an urban area near Quito, Ecuador, who have been taught that life begins only at conception.

    If cultural influences were fundamental to the belief in immortality, both urban and indigenous children should reject the idea of life before birth, she reasoned.

    Professor Emmons showed the children drawings of a baby, a young woman, and the same woman while pregnant, then asked a series of questions about the child's abilities, thoughts and emotions during each period.

    The results were surprising as both groups gave remarkably similar answers.

    The children reasoned that their bodies didn't exist before birth and that they didn't have the ability to think or remember.


    +3

    Children who took part in the study from two distinct cultures in Ecuador reasoned that their bodies didn't exist before birth and that they didn't have the ability to think or remember. However, both groups said that their emotions and desires existed before they were born (illustrated)


    However, both groups also said that their emotions and desires existed before they were born.

    While the children generally reported that they didn't have eyes and couldn't see things before birth, they often reported being happy that they would soon meet their mother, or sad that they were apart from their family.

    ‘Even kids who had biological knowledge about reproduction still seemed to think that they had existed in some sort of eternal form and that form really seemed to be about emotions and desires,’ said Professor Emmons.

    She thinks that this human trait might be a by-product of our highly developed social reasoning as humans tend to see others as the sum of their mental states – and desires and emotions are particularly helpful when predicting behaviour.

    Because this ability is so useful, it flows over into other parts of our thinking and humans sometimes see connections where potentially none exist, she explained.

    This idea of the soul surviving outside the body, while non-scientific, is natural and deep-seated.

    ‘I study these things for a living but even find myself defaulting to them. I know that my mind is a product of my brain but I still like to think of myself as something independent of my body,’ she said.


    Thank you bala

    Comment


    • #3
      KEY STUDY FINDINGS


      • The commonly held belief that part of us - a soul or essence for example - is eternal, emerges during childhood.
      • Humans often think the part of us that is immortal is not our ability to reason, but our desires and emotions - so we are what we feel.
      • In the study, cultural influences had no bearing on whether the children believed in immortality.
      • Children who took part in the study reasoned that their bodies didn't exist before birth and that they didn't have the ability to think or remember.
      • But they also said that their emotions and desires existed before they were born.
      • The human trait to believe in immortality might be a by-product of our highly developed social reasoning as humans tend to see others as the sum of their mental states – and desires and emotions are particularly helpful when predicting behaviour.
      • The idea of the soul surviving outside the body, while non-scientific, is natural and deep-seated, the researchers said.




      ,,,,,,,,
      Thank you bala

      Comment


      • #4
        nice topic.
        Everyone thinks like this.
        Even post-death experiences are also being told .
        I reckon , it is not truth.Once a person dies , he looses his senses . If u loose ur senses , how come u r immortal ? ( Even if u stay in the form of energy and keep on roaming (being forced to roam actually) in atmosphere)

        Comment

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