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:5/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... readers, this installment is bolstered by inspiring human-interest stories, courtesy of awareness-driven celebrities ... within the industry, from leading advocates, associations and industry leaders such as Bioness. ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Each year Standard Process ... Outerbridge is this year’s Life University winner of a $2,500 scholarship ... Student Leadership Awards ceremony. , Outerbridge is approaching her last quarter at Life ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Cabot ... of defective respirators, according to court documents and SEC filings. A jury ... Becky Tyler v. American Optical Corporation, Case No. BC588866, Los Angeles County, California. ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... The ... Project offering a new model of care for living and healing, celebrated its ... values: Meaningful Life in a Real Home provided by Empowered Staff. , “This is ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Dr. James Maisel will present ... Island Chapter on June 4, 2016, 1:30-3:30 pm at the Farmingdale Public Library. ... Retina Group of New York , is a Board Certified ophthalmologist who completed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: AMBS), ... and Orphan Diseases, today announced that President & CEO Gerald ... SeeThru Equity MicroCap Conference   Where: ... , NY When: Tuesday, May 31 st , ... Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 109 East 42 nd St, ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 ... market growth is the emergence of new treatments. Cardax, ... therapies for osteoarthritis treatment. The therapy is expected to ... Arthritis Research UK is conducting studies to develop new ... study, where the genes involved in osteoarthritis are being ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 Since ... matured into an essential life science tool for conducting ... applications. BCC Research reveals in its new report that ... growth phase, one powered by a range of new ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140723/694805 ) , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: