The BBC will be airing a documentary called Secrets of the Superbrands today, where they'll be looking at the power that brands like Apple hold over us. They did some poking around with an MRI scanner, and discovered that for Apple fanatics, their brains respond to Apple products in the same way as people of faith do to religious imagery.
Here's the quote from Secrets of the Superbrands creator Alex Riley:
"The Bishop of Buckingham -- who reads his Bible on an iPad -- explained to me the similarities between Apple and a religion. And when a team of neuroscientists with an MRI scanner took a look inside the brain of an Apple fanatic it seemed the bishop was on to something. The results suggested that Apple was actually stimulating the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith."
U.S. & World
I suppose this shouldn't be too surprising, since as TUAW rightly points out, you could probably make the same sorts of observations about more or less anything that people react to in generally the same manner, whether it's religion, devotion to a particular brand, or love for some TV franchise.
On the other hand, does this mean that your brain can't really tell the difference between religion and a marketing driven pop culture phenomenon? Yeah, I'm not gonna touch that one with a ten foot pole duct taped to my iPad, but feel free to watch the documentary yourself over on the BBC website. And for those of us in the states, well, it looks like we'll just have to wait for it to trickle down to BBC America.