Do you believe these scientists who say they've found a spiritual spot in our brains?
What makes us feel spiritual? It could be the quieting of a small area in our brains, a new study suggests. The area in question - the right parietal lobe - is responsible for defining "Me," said researcher Brick Johnstone of Missouri University.
It generates self-criticism, he said, and guides us through physical and social terrains by constantly updating our self-knowledge: my hand, my cocktail, my witty conversation skills, my new love interest ... people with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives, reports the study...
I'm not sold on the idea, but I remember it being mentioned somewhat in passing in one of my biology classes at my university. I also remember watching a special on tv about it, but now I can't find it.
It's misleading to refer to this area as a "spiritual spot" given the conclusion that it's a reduction in activity here that is associated with certain mental processes associated with spirituality. Rather, this may lend support to the position (one I agree with anyway) that spirituality arises primarily as a by-product of the function of an ensemble of different and non-dedicated brain areas. I'd be interested to read more about the methods here, which aren't detailed much in the link.
Certain previous research, scanning brain activity during religious experience, also referenced activity reduction in parietal regions (presumed due to increased activity in frontal regions). In this case, as such regions contributed to self, spatial and temporal attention, the hypothesis was that the perceptual differentiation between them was eroded to produce a sensation of "oneness" with...
...the broader external reality. Other research, has linked impairment to the right temporo-parietal junction (an area heavily involved with visual attention to space) to out-of-body experiences, which is also interesting and tantalising in this context.