Is There a ‘God Spot’ in the Brain?

brainScientists have used brain-imaging technology to scan meditating Buddhists monks and have found that their spiritual endeavors do effect physiological changes in the brain.

But is there actually a specific “God spot” in the brain, which is more active in some people than others?

An article in US Catholic reports that neuroscientist Mario Beauregard scanned 15 Carmelite nuns with fMRI machines and found that multiple brain regions, including the left brain stem and the visual cortex, are involved in mystical experiences.

Robert Cloninger, a psychiatrist and geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis who developed a personality test, found that certain people are more prone to “self-transcendence” and a natural ability to have faith in a higher power.

Another geneticist, Dean Hamer, used Cloninger’s scale in a search to find a genetic basis for spirituality. Hamer’s research became the subject of his 2004 book, “The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes.”

And researcher Brick Johnstone, a professor of health psychology at the University of Missouri, studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries of the right parietal lobe and found that the more severe the damage to the lobe, the more they felt close to God, says US Catholic.

What if there is a connection between the physical brain and faith in God? That’s a loaded question, which could be answered in a multitude of ways depending on the agenda of the person answering. For Hamer, a God gene has no implications for whether or not God actually exists. There are brain activities that correspond to smelling a rose or sitting in a chair, but that doesn’t mean roses don’t smell good, or that the chair doesn’t exist, says US Catholic.

Photo: TZA’s Flickr Creative Commons


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One Comment

  1. TempleMouse says:

    No – the God spot is in the heart – not the brain

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