Is there a `God spot` in the brain?
Washington: Scientists have long speculated on a `God spot,` a distinct area of the human brain responsible for spirituality, but actually multiple areas of the organ may be linked with such experiences, says a study.
"We have found a neuro-psychological basis for spirituality, but it`s not isolated to one specific area of the brain," said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in University of Missouri School of Health Professions, who led the study.
"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," added Johntone, the International Journal of the Psychology of Religion reports.
Johnstone studied a group of people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear, according to a Missouri statement.
He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.
"Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one`s focus on the self," Johnstone said.
"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," added Johnstone.
Johnstone says the right side of the brain is linked with self-orientation, whereas the left side is tied with how individuals relate to others.