RESEARCH: "Religious Experience and Emotion: Evidence for Distinctive Cognitive Neural Patterns"

  title={RESEARCH: "Religious Experience and Emotion: Evidence for Distinctive Cognitive Neural Patterns"},
  author={Nina P. Azari and John H. Missimer and R{\"u}diger J. Seitz},
  journal={The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion},
  pages={263 - 281}
Categorical comparisons of neuroimaging data suggest that religious experience is cognitively mediated. Cognition involves coordinated integration of large-scale networks. The aim of this study was to distinguish neural networks mediating religious experience. A principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to cerebral blood flow data of a Christian religious experience and a happy emotion. Differences in variance patterns (PCs) were assessed. The religious experience and the emotion were… 

From Brain Imaging Religious Experience to Explaining Religion: A Critique

Recent functional neuroimaging data, acquired in studies of religious experience, have been used to explain and justify religion and its origins. In this paper, we critique the move from describing

[Neurotheology: neurobiological models of religious experience].

This article presents a review of empirical results and hypothetical approaches to explain mystical religious experiences neurobiologically and suggests that there may be a whole array of different neurophysiological conditions which may result in the same core religious mystical experiences.

Mentalizing and Religion

Mentalizing is an important actual topic, both in psychodynamic theory and in clinical practice. Remarkably, mentalizing has been explicitly related to religion or psychology of religion only to a

Processes of believing — a review and conceptual account

It is shown that in processes of believing, the medial frontal cortex plays a critical role within a widespread cortico-subcortical network owing to its role in valuation of internal and external events and in subjective control of action.

Associations of religious behavior and experiences with extent of regional atrophy in the orbitofrontal cortex during older adulthood

MRI results support the presence of a long-term relationship between religious or spiritual experience and brain structure, which may have clinical implications.

The psychological role of music and attentional control for religious experiences in worship

This study investigated the psychological dynamics during worship experiences under the influence of different music conditions and deduced that the ability to focus on God is positively associated with how strong the subjective religious experience becomes and the different musical conditions yield varying degrees in the intensity of the felt presence of God.

Religious Factors and Hippocampal Atrophy in Late Life

The findings of this study indicate that hippocampal atrophy in late life may be uniquely influenced by certain types of religious factors.

The neural basis of religion.

Some explain religion as the viral propagation of false beliefs (Dawkins, 2006).1 Recent cognitive neuroscience suggests, however, that belief-centered approaches to religion may be too narrow.

The neuropsychology of religious experience. A review of different scientific approaches to the phenomenon / Neuropsicología de la experiencia religiosa. Una revisión de distintas aproximaciones científicas al fenómeno

Abstract The current article is a critical review of the neuropsychological study of religious experience. First, we analyse the philosophical and theological roots of the term and its

What is the “Relational” in Relational Spirituality? A Review of Definitions and Research Directions

ABSTRACT “Relational spirituality” is a term that has been increasingly employed in psychological literature in recent years with a variety of definitions and within different theoretical



Neural correlates of religious experience

The neural correlates of a religious experience are investigated using functional neuroimaging, which indicates that during religious recitation, self‐identified religious subjects activated a frontal–parietal circuit, composed of the dorsolateral prefrontal, dorsomedial frontal and medial parietal cortex.


Inquiry into religious experience is informed by conceptualizations of emotion. Although a long history of theoretical and empirical work has provided considerable insight into the philosophical,

Paranormal and Religious Beliefs May Be Mediated Differentially by Subcortical and Cortical Phenomenological Processes of the Temporal (Limbic) Lobes

Partial correlation analyses supported the vectorial hemisphericity concept, but agreements with extreme religious beliefs, such as killing others in God's name, were associated with weekly church attendance and were primarily endorsed by men but not by women.

Neural correlates of feeling sympathy

Religious and Mystical Experiences as Artifacts of Temporal Lobe Function: A General Hypothesis

These temporal lobe microseizures can be learned as responses to existential trauma because stimulation is of powerful intrinsic reward regions and reduction of death anxiety occurs, and the implications of these transients as potent modifiers of human behavior are considered.

A multiprocess perspective on the neuroscience of emotion.

During the past century, neuroscientists and psychologists have viewed emotion through different lenses. According to many contemporary psychologists our emotions are a product of the way in which we

Medial prefrontal cortex and self-referential mental activity: Relation to a default mode of brain function

The presence of self-referential mental activity appears to be associated with increases from the baseline in dorsal MPFC, and reductions in ventral MPFC occurred consistent with the fact that attention-demanding tasks attenuate emotional processing.

Theory of Mind and the Self

  • F. Happé
  • Psychology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2003
The speculative suggestion will be made that reflecting on one's own thoughts is not a privileged process, but rather relies on the same cognitive and neural functions used for attributing thoughts to others.