Scientists at Yale University claim to have identified a part of the human brain associated with spiritual experiences.
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 underwent spiritual experiences, says a study by Yale scientists.
According to Marc Potenza, professor of psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, “Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people’s lives. Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders.’’
As part of their study, researchers interviewed 27 people and recorded information about their past stressful and relaxing experiences as well as their spiritual experiences.
These people then underwent fMRI scans while listening to recordings of their personalized experiences.
Though their life experiences were different, these people showed similar activity in the parietal cortex part of their brain as they imagined experiencing the events in the recordings.
According to researchers, other areas of the brain could also be involved in spiritual experiences.