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Jovialis
04-06-18, 16:54
Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience—the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.


Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences, according to a study published online May 29 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.


"Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people's lives," said Marc Potenza, professor of psychiatry, of the Yale Child Study Center, and of neuroscience. "Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders."


Spiritual experiences can be religious in nature or not, such as feeling of oneness in nature or the absence of self during sporting events. Researchers at Yale and the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University interviewed 27 young adults to gather information about past stressful and relaxing experiences as well as their spiritual experiences. The subjects then underwent fMRI scans while listening for the first time to recordings based on their personalized experiences. While individual spiritual experiences differed, researchers noted similar patterns of activity in the parietal cortex as the subjects imagined experiencing the events in the recordings.


Potenza stressed other brain areas are probably also involved in formation of spiritual experiences. The method can help future researchers study spiritual experience and its impact on mental health, he said.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-06-brain-spiritual.html




Neural Correlates of Personalized Spiritual Experiences

Abstract


Across cultures and throughout history, human beings have reported a variety of spiritual experiences and the concomitant perceived sense of union that transcends one’s ordinary sense of self. Nevertheless, little is known about the underlying neural mechanisms of spiritual experiences, particularly when examined across different traditions and practices. By adapting an individualized guided-imagery task, we investigated neural correlates of personally meaningful spiritual experiences as compared with stressful and neutral-relaxing experiences. We observed in the spiritual condition, as compared with the neutral-relaxing condition, reduced activity in the left inferior parietal lobule (IPL), a result that suggests the IPL may contribute importantly to perceptual processing and self-other representations during spiritual experiences. Compared with stress cues, responses to spiritual cues showed reduced activity in the medial thalamus and caudate, regions associated with sensory and emotional processing. Overall, the study introduces a novel method for investigating brain correlates of personally meaningful spiritual experiences and suggests neural mechanisms associated with broadly defined and personally experienced spirituality.

https://academic.oup.com/cercor/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/cercor/bhy102/5017785?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Spiritual experiences; a sense of the sublime, have inspired people to create great works. These great works within and of themselves can invoke great emotion and fascination to others. Which is a testament to the power of the experience the creator had. It is a part of what makes life enjoyable, and helps us find meaning. I think people should embrace these feelings, as part of our human nature. It is a genuine human experience that we evolved to have. Which has facilitated the creation of a society that appreciates more than just the practical.