The Effect of Religion on the Brain

Religion has been believed by humans for as long as can be remember, but have you ever considered the effect religion has on the brain scientifically? Well, today you are going to find out.

I’ll start off by saying that the effect of religion on the brain is truly astonishing – people who have religious belief can benefit from an increased lifespan and better coping of disease. In fact, a religious experience can activate the same circuits / initiate the same enjoyment as sex and drugs.

As you probably would have expected (or maybe not), different religions actually have different effects on the brain. Christians and Buddhists have increased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain, but, other religious practices can have the opposite effect on the same brain areas. For example, Islamic prayer reduces the activity in the prefrontal cortex and the frontal lobes connected with it, as well as the activity in the parietal lobes.

The final topic I want to talk about is if it would be possible to create a ‘God’ on demand. The answer to this is very well put out by Medical News Today:

“This is not just a theoretical question because in the 1990s, Dr. Michael Persinger — the director of the Neuroscience Department at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada — designed what came to be known as the “God Helmet.”

This is a device that is able to simulate religious experiences by stimulating an individual’s tempoparietal lobes using magnetic fields.

In Dr. Persinger’s experiments, about 20 religious people — which amounts to just 1 percent of the participants — reported feeling the presence of God or seeing him in the room when wearing the device. However, 80 percent of the participants felt a presence of some sort, which they were reluctant to call “God.””

So, I think its safe to say that its possible for people to believe they have found God just due to the passion, eagerness and devotion they have. Hopefully as people continue to research into this, we will find out just how far the human brain can go to find the presence of something spiritual.

Thank you for taking the time to read this weeks short blog, if you found it interesting feel free to comment down below!



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