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Several areas of the brain are linked to spirituality

New Delhi, Fri, 20 Apr 2012 NI Wire

For a very longtime scientists were speculating about a 'God spot,' a specific area of the human brain linked to spirituality, but actually several areas of the brain may be linked to such experiences, reveals a study.

"We have found a neuro-psychological basis for spirituality, but it's not isolated to one specific area of the brain," Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in University of Missouri School of Health Professions, who led the study, has been quoted as saying.

"Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more significant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals' spiritual experiences," said Johntone, the International Journal of the Psychology of Religion says.

Johnstone conducted a study on a group of people with traumatic brain injuries that affected their right parietal lobe, the part of the organ located a few inches above the right ear, says a Missouri statement.

Johnstone conducted a survey on participants on characteristics of spirituality, that includes how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were linked to some divine. He observed that those with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe exhibited an increased feeling of nearness to a divine power.

"Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one's focus on the self," Johnstone has been quoted as saying.

"Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves," Johnstone added.

Johnstone reveals that the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is linked with how individuals relate to others.

--with inputs from IANS


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