Apple stimulates brain's religious responses, claims BBC

Scientists reckon Apple directly works on the bits of our brains that deal with religion, according to Secrets of the Superbrands, a BBC programme investigating brands.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Can we get a hallelujah? Scientists reckon Apple directly works on the bits of our brains that deal with religion, according to a BBC programme investigating brands. Secrets of the Superbrands shoves an Apple acolyte into a brain scanner and records the physiological effect of gadget lust, with fascinating results.

Shown on BBC Three last night and available on iPlayer until 9 June, Secrets of the Superbrands shows tech-baffled presenter Alex Riley exploring the appeal of brands such as Nokia, Google and Microsoft. He starts the programme, and the series, with the world's biggest brand: Apple.

When asked what that person would be like if Apple was a person, answers ranged from, "spoilt... kind of snobby," to, "the sort of person who might invite you to their birthday party, but when you got there you'd be doing everything they wanted to." To investigate the cult-like following of the fruit-flavoured phone-flogger, the show gives an Apple apostle's bonce a once-over.

World of Apple blogger Alex Brooks, who's been to 30 Apple Store openings around the world, is bunged into an MRI machine to have his brain scanned for physiological responses to Apple. When shown pictures of Apple products, there's increased activity in the visual centres of his brain.

Comparing the Apple fan's brain scan with the noggin scans of religious folk, neuroscientists noticed similar effects. Apple is often described as a 'cult', complete with temples, devotees and its own messiah in the shape of St Steve of Jobs -- not to mention the hysteria and madness surrounding every new product launch.

The programme witnesses this hysteria first-hand at the launch of the Covent Garden Apple Store alongside CNET UK's own Luke Westaway -- that's the back of Luke's indie feathercut taking pictures at 08:14 -- where Riley begins chatting with an employee of the store. Seconds into the interview, someone whispers in the Apple chappie's ear and he disappears, mindful of the code of omerta that Apple employees never talk to the press. That's unless they're anonymously spilling the beans, of course.

Has the Apple cult gone too far, or are you happy to worship at the altar of Jobs? What areas of your brain do Apple products stimulate? Scan your brain and write the results in the comments or on our Facebook wall.