MRI Scan of the Brain Shows That Apple Fandom Really Is Like a Religion

apple mri scan

Perhaps this one should be filed under “cool headline, but what is the whole story?” According to TUAW, a documentary on BBC 3 compares the similarities between Apple and a religion. A team of neuroscientists took an MRI scan of the brain of an Apple fanatic, and determined that “Apple was actually stimulating the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people in faith.”

The documentary, aired on May 18, was about the relationship between consumers and the brands that shape their behavior. Unfortunately, the documentary is not available in my region. Has anyone seen it, who can give us a more full report? I’d be curious to learn whether this reaction to stimulation was unique to Apple, or a reaction that everyone has to favorite brands or positive experiences. If the former, perhaps Apple fans are brainwashed masses after all. (And before you get up in arms over that statement, I count myself among them, given my total dedication to my MacBook Air).

BBC: Loving Apple looks like a religion to an MRI scan [TUAW]

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. As far as I know, the tests was done on just one (1) person, so I’m not sure how conclusive it is :)

    But I haven’t wasted any time on it to be honest, as I don’t want/need to defend my choice in Apple products, people can call me brainwashed all they want, I don’t care :D

    • Yep, I’d say it is hardly a statistically valid study.

      And more power to you – like what you want. I’m relatively new to the whole Mac world myself, and find myself picking it over Windows more and more.

  2. Its just beyond the scope of my understanding as why educated people are becoming more and more obsessed with a single brand and are behaving like those unpaid advertisers. This tendency needs to stop.

    • There is definitely a difference there someone between liking a product, and obsessing over a single brand merely because it has a particular logo on it. I’m loving my MacBook Air, but I hope it is because of its virtues, and not because I’m sucked in by marketing hype.

  3. It would also be worth noting if other stimuli also affect this area of the brain. Just because it’s an area of the brain that religious imagery stimulates in people of faith doesn’t necessarily mean that puppies and ice cream don’t stimulate the exact same area.

    There’s also a pretty big range of fandom, from just liking a product to actively evangelizing it. I’ve personally expressed concern about P&G sales of their Pringle unit, worry that the nut-jobs over at Diamond will mess something up … but I don’t think I have been brainwashed to like Pringles. I just like certain products.

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