Neurologists: Apple is like a religion

By on May 20, 2011, 9:30 AM

UK neuroscientists have found that Apple imagery activates the same parts of the brain in Apple fanboys that religious imagery does in followers of that religion. In heated arguments on the Internet, some users sometimes say that Apple is like a cult, and it seems there might be at least some truth to that.

A recent BBC TV documentary, Secrets of the Superbrands, looked at why technology brands have become so popular. The first episode was focused on Apple, but it will move on to other companies, like Twitter, Facebook, and possibly even Microsoft and Google.

Alex Brooks, the editor of World of Apple, is a self-described Apple evangelist. The researchers gave him an MRI and studied his brain to see how it reacted when he was shown images of Apple and non-Apple products. When images of Apple products were displayed in front of him, his brain reacted the same way a religious follower's brain reacts when they are shown imagery associated with their religion.

Right now, this phenomenon has only been confirmed for the Apple brand. It's very possible that when any person shows incredible loyalty to a brand to the point of devotion, seeing related images will also stimulate the same parts of their brain.

Does this mean that being a crazed fanboy is similar to being a religious fanatic? Maybe. I would say it's too early to tell, but there is probably a correlation between buying products just because they come from a given company and accepting everything a given group tells you as fact because you've declared your faith to it.




User Comments: 53

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Guest said:

Man...I have years trying to prove that...thanks!!! how do i join the research team?

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I suspect most other big/popular brands will have a similar result, but trying this out with Apple first is both appropriate, and funny.

Guest said:

I went to best buy the other day to test out the xoom/iPad2. I told my mother "Apple products dont intrigue me." so she is like apple products are best and only smart people use them.

/sigh society

Guest said:

Now we have the answer of why ppl go against logic and support shitty things, they disrupted the diversity transforming it into mind control LOL... true but i knew it...weak minds

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

and you think PC advocates are any different LOL, ROF - - just look at the zealous fervor here at TS.

@guest ::

so she is like apple products are best and only smart people use them.
Mother almost had it right

"smart people use whatever is in front of them and available to do the job"

ps: now watch the fur fly :giggle:

andreasf93 said:

Wth.. why so serious?

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Serious? naa - - just making the point that frequently zealots revert to calling the kettle black when what we need is tolerance and free choice

Guest said:

I believe it. As someone who has run several computing depts in at a very large University the fervor in which Apple users speak about their products and slander others is beyond compare. I have always compared many of their users to a cult.

For the record I support 5000 users and of them about 700 apple users and there is no comparison the Apple users are the most vocal individuals I have ever had the pleasure/displeasure to serve.

example1013 said:

Apple is a brand, like any other. Part of being a brand is that people who are loyal to the brand irrationally consider their products better. This should be news to nobody that both religious fanatics and Apple fanatics use the same parts of their brains to not think.

nickblame said:

what in Apples name errr in Gods name is this?!? How can you compare that stuff I really don't get. If apple stops making good products it will eventually get dumped. People then will seek new cults. Oh right I get it now you're right.

Guest said:

If you think this is interesting you should read, 'The Religion of Technology' by David Nobel, an excellent book in this field.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

lmao, this is so going on my fb status.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Apple is a brand, like any other. Part of being a brand is that people who are loyal to the brand irrationally consider their products better. This should be news to nobody that both religious fanatics and Apple fanatics use the same parts of their brains to not think.
Now, now, we'll have no more blasphemy from you. And in the future, I expect you'll address Mr. Jobs as, "Your Most App-Holiest"!

herpaderp said:

inb4 McDonalds :\

DokkRokken said:

madboyv1 said:

I suspect most other big/popular brands will have a similar result, but trying this out with Apple first is both appropriate, and funny.

You'll get this in almost any field. I work with people who seem to believe Snap-On tools are forged from the bones of Christ. Or, Harley Davidson riders.

Apple is the tech crowd's 'Harley'. You buy into the 'lifestyle.' And even though Apple products are so ubiquitous, their owners believe they have something very personalized and different from everyone else.

example1013 said:

captaincranky said:

Apple is a brand, like any other. Part of being a brand is that people who are loyal to the brand irrationally consider their products better. This should be news to nobody that both religious fanatics and Apple fanatics use the same parts of their brains to not think.
Now, now, we'll have no more blasphemy from you. And in the future, I expect you'll address Mr. Jobs as, "Your Most App-Holiest"!

Amusingly enough, I'm actually an Apple user myself, and have been all my life. I just recognize that my enjoyment comes largely from the software and support ends, rather than the hardware ends. The fact that Apple's machines are so damn pretty is nothing but a bonus.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Amusingly enough, I'm actually an Apple user myself, and have been all my life. I just recognize that my enjoyment comes largely from the software and support ends, rather than the hardware ends. The fact that Apple's machines are so damn pretty is nothing but a bonus.
I think they should release the Apple logo as s silver pendant.

Now focus on the swinging Apple, and start counting backward from a hundred. You are getting hungry, hungry, hungry for Apple's next product. When I snap my fingers, you'll wake feeling refreshed, and go stand in line and wait for it.

If you didn't get the message, it's because I was holding the pendant wrong. In the trade it's called, "hypno-dropout".

Cota Cota said:

Awesome, now Mac Fa... Cult Boys will be mad for a time and will start blocking streets and yell white power :\

example1013 said:

captaincranky said:

Amusingly enough, I'm actually an Apple user myself, and have been all my life. I just recognize that my enjoyment comes largely from the software and support ends, rather than the hardware ends. The fact that Apple's machines are so damn pretty is nothing but a bonus.
I think they should release the Apple logo as s silver pendant.

Now focus on the swinging Apple, and start counting backward from a hundred. You are getting hungry, hungry, hungry for Apple's next product. When I snap my fingers, you'll wake feeling refreshed, and go stand in line and wait for it.

If you didn't get the message, it's because I was holding the pendant wrong. In the trade it's called, "hypno-dropout".

Please no. People would actually start wearing it as bling.

ravisunny2 ravisunny2, TS Ambassador, said:

Wonderfully put, Captain!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm so busy watching Senna, that I am not bothered about it; beside I don't want to attract herds of iSheeps distracting me from what I am doing

peperonikiller peperonikiller said:

You should not buy the $20 knock off brand bible. Instead buy our $2000 bible that is exactly the same just with an Apple logo on it.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

captaincranky said:

Apple is a brand, like any other. Part of being a brand is that people who are loyal to the brand irrationally consider their products better. This should be news to nobody that both religious fanatics and Apple fanatics use the same parts of their brains to not think.
Now, now, we'll have no more blasphemy from you. And in the future, I expect you'll address Mr. Jobs as, "Your Most App-Holiest"!

"Your Most App-Holiest"

Haha, ok, seriously, who didn't laugh at this?

MilwaukeeMike said:

It all started in 1984 when Apple introduced the Macintosh to the world... in a commercial featuring a spoof on the movie 1984. (google 'apple 1984 commercial'

How prophetic. haha

TeamworkGuy2 said:

captaincranky said:

Apple is a brand, like any other. Part of being a brand is that people who are loyal to the brand irrationally consider their products better. This should be news to nobody that both religious fanatics and Apple fanatics use the same parts of their brains to not think.
Now, now, we'll have no more blasphemy from you. And in the future, I expect you'll address Mr. Jobs as, "Your Most App-Holiest"!

ROFL, this tread pretty much made my week

I have got to agree, especially college students with Apple products, they're so 'Applish'!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Awesome, now Mac Fa... Cult Boys will be mad for a time and will start blocking streets and yell white power :\
Either that, or,"nerd power", as they wave their empty wallets in the air.

"I just bought an iPad, now I'm broke".......(yay)...

Whoaman said:

Attachment and Aversion. Religion is simply the packaged version. Even believing in nothing is a kind of attachment.

They actually pay people to do study this? Sign me up :$

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Attachment and Aversion. Religion is simply the packaged version. Even believing in nothing is a kind of attachment.

They actually pay people to do study this? Sign me up :$

Well, yes they do. The trouble is that it's in the form of a shot of endorphins delivered by gluteal injection with a rusty needle, not in actual money

bakape said:

captaincranky said:

Attachment and Aversion. Religion is simply the packaged version. Even believing in nothing is a kind of attachment.

They actually pay people to do study this? Sign me up :$

Well, yes they do. The trouble is that it's in the form of a shot of endorphins delivered by gluteal injection with a rusty needle, not in actual money

Now let us reach a mutual understanding on dosage and regularity, and you can consider myself a lifetime employee, till death do us part.

seefizzle said:

I have always said that Apple fanboys are like Jehova's witnesses.

Guest said:

In other news, TechSpot journalists take a reprieve from real news-events in order to bring you ambiguous corollary that suggests only Apple fans are capable of being smug fanatics, and that religion is somehow relevant to this phenomenon! Stay tuned for the next news update: "Neurologists: Hungry people are like zombies."

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think the road to Damascus moment for this particular cult was when people were told that they were holding their phone wrong. Those that agreed, are members. Those that said, WTF were saved.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

In other news, TechSpot journalists take a reprieve from real news-events in order to bring you ambiguous corollary that suggests only Apple fans are capable of being smug fanatics, and that religion is somehow relevant to this phenomenon! Stay tuned for the next news update: "Neurologists: Hungry people are like zombies."
Well Guest, it's like they say, "all real news and no comedy makes guest a dull boy".Besides,the world is supposed to end tomorrow! Maybe you should celebrate and spend your last day "folding at home".

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Apple is like a religion...

And we all know that religeon and large explosions go together like imitation thrift shop clothing and hipsters, so it will undoubtably come as no surprise that Foxconn's Chengdu factory did just that today ( Building A5 - iPad2 production line)

Washington Post link here

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 DBZ

I just heard that news on TV, they don't know what caused it though. Well at least we all know iSheeps will happily wait till the production begins again and their beloved toys start arriving at nearby stores.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

So...any Apple fans want to try and convince me that Apple's stuff is superior?

I'll start out by conceding that their laptops look pretty snazzy, and that the hardware on their mp3 players is not bad.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I just heard that news on TV, they don't know what caused it though

I'm picking that there was a guided tour of the plant organised by Apple for loyal and unwavering customers...once they were all [strikethrough]assembled[/strikethrough] herded together, their superciliousness achieved critical mass....one minute, a(n orderly) throng of ironic message t-shirts and tight jeans...the next...

Guest said:

Problem is that too many people see religion as a "rational" way of thinking...thats why apple-lovers have no problem devoting significant portions of their time, money, faith to basically 'an idea ro belief'..hmm, sound familiar?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Apple is like a religion...

And we all know that religeon and large explosions go together like imitation thrift shop clothing and hipsters,...[ ]...

Now if you'll just say the mystical incantation, "Bush, Bong, and Beatles", three times, you will return to the early seventies..
so it will undoubtably come as no surprise that Foxconn's Chengdu factory [/URL]did just that today ( Building A5 - iPad2 production line)]
This also has a mystical explanation! Lucifer sent his archangel, "Jimmy Hoffa", to smite the Chinese for using non-union labor. The fire was begun in a kiln room, where they were fashioning Steve Job's canopic jars....

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

The fire was begun in a kiln room, where they were fashioning Steve Job's canopic jars....

If they have that much clay might that suppose that they have enough to manufacturer a few Golems as well ?

From our friends at wiki:

Golems are not intelligent, and if commanded to perform a task, they will perform the instructions literally. In many depictions golems are inherently perfectly obedient

and...

Exhibit 2....and 3

smoking gun?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Similar Golems (literally, like the one's in Exhibit 2 especially) are 'made' in places like Harvard, so when they are let loose in the wild, they come up with schemes with exotic names like CDS, to rip everyone else for benefit of their master(s). and when their schemes are about to run out of steam (literally) they invent enough scarey stories that they are given more money (almost free of cost) by other Golems (the ones who are born as one, but end up being in political offices), so they can go and more have fun at the expense of well ...... you know what I am talking about. Okay I will admit it is just a theory, but a plausible one IMO.

Flannelwarrior said:

This is hilarious. Especially since Apple fanboys are in every was as obnoxious as Bible thumping God freaks.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Another article proving that we are truly living in a pussified media driven world with ridiculous claims and comparisons.

Guest said:

I always knew apple products have some kind of brainwashing device inside them to make people love only apple a la the manchurian candidate. and that explain all the "measures" they took against anyone who tried to open their products. I am glad i never touched any device with apple logo on it :P

example1013 said:

hellokitty[hk] said:

So...any Apple fans want to try and convince me that Apple's stuff is superior?

I'll start out by conceding that their laptops look pretty snazzy, and that the hardware on their mp3 players is not bad.

On the hardware end? No, I'm not going to argue anything. On the support end, though? My experiences with Apple's free support have been on par with Dell's paid-for Gold support that I deal with at work. Top-of-the-line support, provided at no cost to the user. It's about as pleasant and painless as having a computer problem could be.

Also, development is really nice, especially for software. iOS and OSX use many of the same assets, and run in the same language (Cocoa), along with providing built-in support for a ton of other languages. Using Objective-C is really nice, and it's fairly easy to get into, even having no prior coding experience. The SDK is free as long as you have a mac, and is extremely fully-featured. There are also tons of free places to go to get started on learning, so it's actually a really good intro to programming in general.

Much of the experience is fairly intuitive, as well, especially on the mobile platforms. No one has to teach you how to use an iPad, which is the main reason why so many people love them. Notice that Windows 7 also stole a few features from OSX, because they're nice. The two OSes are really similar overall, though (past some UI stuff), so I'm not going to really argue that OSX is far-and-away superior. I will say that I've used both Windows and Mac my whole life, and I prefer Mac.

Guest said:

So my idea that apple is the Scientology of the tech world is not so far off after all?

aj_the_kidd said:

I like the products that apple produces but the the "aura" around it, not so much. Like that stupid ad:

"If you don't have an iPhone, well then, you don't have an iPhone",

So pretentious and elitist, IMO of course, wouldn't want to annoy you sensitive apple fan boys out there

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I like the products that apple produces but the the "aura" around it, not so much. Like that stupid ad:

"If you don't have an iPhone, well then, you don't have an iPhone",

So pretentious and elitist, IMO of course, wouldn't want to annoy you sensitive apple fan boys out there

Well AJ, I don't consider this quote "elitist",
"If you don't have an iPhone, well then, you don't have an iPhone",
I am personally offended by it. If anything, this is abundantly condescending. You're being talked down to at a level of hubris that I'm completely uncomfortable with. A plodding imbecile might nod his, (or her), head in agreement with this banality, myself I just mute the sound, or change the channel.

aj_the_kidd said:

captaincranky said:

I like the products that apple produces but the the "aura" around it, not so much. Like that stupid ad:

"If you don't have an iPhone, well then, you don't have an iPhone",

So pretentious and elitist, IMO of course, wouldn't want to annoy you sensitive apple fan boys out there

Well AJ, I don't consider this quote "elitist",
"If you don't have an iPhone, well then, you don't have an iPhone",
I am personally offended by it. If anything, this is abundantly condescending. You're being talked down to at a level of hubris that I'm completely uncomfortable with. A plodding imbecile might nod his, (or her), head in agreement with this banality, myself I just mute the sound, or change the channel.

Call it what you want i suppose, same diff IMO. There's only so many times i can mute or change the channel, particularly when i'm really tired. The other Apple ads didn't annoy me as much as that one, they brought it to another level with that sentence

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

they brought it to another level with that sentence

Indeed they did! The sad part is that that is what other advertising has been for decades."Why is Folgers the best coffee"? The answer was, "because it's the richest there is". Same thing here, being talked down to like a 2 year old. Why mommy? Mommy says, "because"?

For the sake of accuracy, the ad we're talking about is either Verizon or ATT, not Apple directly. Although Apple may be pumping money into the campaign.

As to your , "only change the channel or mute it so much" observation. That's called, "road blocking", and it's used in prime time, so that whichever channel you turn to, you get the same ad!

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