A team of neurologists from Yale University has managed to identify the brain area responsible for spiritual experiences. During the study, scientists noted although experiences spiritual in nature differ from person to person, the same brain area seems to have been triggered in each case.
Scientists Closer to Understanding How the Brain Processes Spiritual Experiences
A joint researcher team comprising of members from the Yale University and the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University discovered that the parietal cortex, a brain area commonly associated with self-awareness and attention processing is also involved in spirituality.
More specifically, the researchers have discovered that there’s an actual place in the brain tasked with processing what we believe to be something otherworldly.
The study, which was published on the 29th of May in the online journal Cerebral Cortex, underscores the idea that, in terms of neurobiology, spirituality is intimately related to self-awareness and perception.
This momentous discovery could very well prove to be a milestone in psychiatry. Marc Potenza, senior research and a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, explained that by identifying the physical hot spot of spirituality, we could better understand how to treat certain mental conditions.
The study’s conclusions have been formulated by the team following a series of interviews. According to Potenza, as part of the study, 27 young adults have been interviewed. The questionnaire they’ve had to fill out contained questions about stressful events, happy events, and, of course, spiritual experiences.
Based on their answers, the researchers would play some songs while scanning their brain with a fMRI machine.
Potenza noted that although the participants had different spiritual experiences, they had a common denominator – an overactive parietal cortex.
The study’s senior author also said that there might be other brain areas involved in what we call spirituality.
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