Scientists have scanned the brains of sworn football fans to find out why fans of rival teams often have very dissimilar views on the same match.
As part of the research, they plotted and compared the brain activity of Manchester United and Chelsea supporters while they watched their favorite sides in action against one another.
The results propose that fans of rival teams do see the same match in a visual sense. That is, the regions of the brain that are directly involved in seeing exhibited comparable activity in both sets of supporters.
Conversely, the results of the study presented clear differences among the groups in the activity of higher regions of the brain involved in cognition, demonstrating that the same sensory information was inferred and assessed differently.
For the study, the researchers enlisted ardent supporters of Chelsea and Manchester United. The contestants had supported their team for an average of 15 years and had been to see them play over 25 times.
In an MRI scanner, participants were shown a Match-of-the-Day-style montage of highlights from games between the two teams.