Navigation Links
Selflessness, core of all major world religions, has neuropsychological connection
Date:12/17/2008

COLUMBIA, Mo. All spiritual experiences are based in the brain. That statement is truer than ever before, according to a University of Missouri neuropsychologist. An MU study has data to support a neuropsychological model that proposes spiritual experiences associated with selflessness are related to decreased activity in the right parietal lobe of the brain. The study is one of the first to use individuals with traumatic brain injury to determine this connection. Researchers say the implication of this connection means people in many disciplines, including peace studies, health care or religion can learn different ways to attain selflessness, to experience transcendence, and to help themselves and others.

This study, along with other recent neuroradiological studies of Buddhist meditators and Francescan nuns, suggests that all individuals, regardless of cultural background or religion, experience the same neuropsychological functions during spiritual experiences, such as transcendence. Transcendence, feelings of universal unity and decreased sense of self, is a core tenet of all major religions. Meditation and prayer are the primary vehicles by which such spiritual transcendence is achieved.

"The brain functions in a certain way during spiritual experiences," said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the MU School of Health Professions. "We studied people with brain injury and found that people with injuries to the right parietal lobe of the brain reported higher levels of spiritual experiences, such as transcendence."

This link is important, Johnstone said, because it means selflessness can be learned by decreasing activity in that part of the brain. He suggests this can be done through conscious effort, such as meditation or prayer. People with these selfless spiritual experiences also are more psychologically healthy, especially if they have positive beliefs that there is a God or higher power who loves them, Johnstone said.

"This research also addresses questions regarding the impact of neurologic versus cultural factors on spiritual experience," Johnstone said. "The ability to connect with things beyond the self, such as transcendent experiences, seems to occur for people who minimize right parietal functioning. This can be attained through cultural practices, such as intense meditation or prayer or because of a brain injury that impairs the functioning of the right parietal lobe. Either way, our study suggests that 'selflessness' is a neuropsychological foundation of spiritual experiences."

The research was funded by the MU Center on Religion and the Professions. The study "Support for a neuropsychological model of spirituality in persons with traumatic brain injury" was published in the peer-reviewed journal Zygon.

"Our research focused on the personal experience of spiritual transcendence and does not in any way minimize the importance of religion or personal beliefs, nor does it suggest that spiritual experience are related only to neuropsychological activity in the brain," Johnstone said. "It is important to note that individuals experience their God or higher power in many different ways, but that all people from all religions and beliefs appear to experience these connections in a similar way."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Faddis
faddisj@missouri.edu
573-882-6217
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Rotary Action Group Helps Launch Major Public-Private HIV Prevention Initiative in Kenya
2. Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation Announces Major Development Milestone in Stem Cell Allograft Product
3. New psychotherapy has potential to treat majority of cases of eating disorders
4. Major Health Care Provider Engages Home Care Assistance to Provide Services for Approximately 1,400 of Its Members
5. Study shows major pain research funding decline at NIH
6. Top Online Health & Lifestyle Media Brand Inks Major Book Deal
7. ThermoGenesis Introduces New Cell Separation Technology for Veterinary Use at Major Equine Convention
8. Majority of Docs Believe Miracles have Occurred in the Past and Can Occur Today
9. Major New Resource for Bone and Mineral Disorders Released
10. Dr. Jane L. Delgado Appointed By Senate Majority Leader to Board of National Urban Air Toxics Research Center
11. Major Retailers Experience 161% Increase in Attempted Hacker Attacks, According to SecureWorks
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... Durham, NC (PRWEB) , ... March 30, 2017 ... ... professionals, will host the live audio conference “ Preventing Hospital Readmissions Through Discharge ... April 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm ET. This conference discusses strategies to prevent ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... In the United States alone, up ... year develop other types of metastatic brain tumors(3). Though most meningiomas are benign, metastatic ... focus on finding more effective treatment options, the San Diego Gamma Knife Center ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 30, 2017 , ... CHARM CITY RUN WELCOMES MERCY MEDICAL CENTER AS ... Medical Center will serve as the official title sponsor of the Baltimore Women’s Classic, ... 2017, thousands of women will walk or run the course around the Baltimore Inner ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Wells Pharmacy ... attending prescribers at the upcoming World Congress, in Hollywood Florida April 6-8, 2017. ... recognized as the visionary leader in the training of physicians, scientists, and members ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... 29, 2017 , ... Patients interested in receiving quick and ... Jamie Cameron, with or without a referral. The FASTBRACES system is valued for ... each patient’s case, treatment with the FASTBRACES system could be completed in 120 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar. 29, 2017 ... "Intraoperative Neuromonitoring (IONM) Market Size & Forecast By Type (Insource ... - 2025" report to their offering. ... The global Intraoperative ... by 2025. The intraoperative neuromonitoring market is anticipated to witness ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017 Global intravenous (IV) iron and ... by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 5%. ... a doctor to treat anemia or other iron deficiencies. Oral ... the body. However, in some cases, oral administrations are not ... intravenous (IV) iron therapy comes into the picture. ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017 Today, CVS Health officials (NYSE: ... , Department of Public Health Director Gerd Clabaugh ... in announcing the availability of the opioid overdose-reversal medicine ... Iowa.  CVS Health has established a standing order with physicians ... to expand access to the medication in the state.   ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: