Mar 13, 2009 | 29
Jesus has been "found" in tree bark, windows and even Cheetos, but now researchers have been able to map where he—or at least religion—pops up in the brain.
Scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA this week that they pinpointed where in the brain different types of religious thoughts originate. According to the study, religious musings occur in a variety of regions, confirming previous research showing there is no single "God Spot" in the brain from whence all spiritual thoughts emerge.
Study co-author Jordan Grafman, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, says that recalling a religious experience activates the same brain areas as more mundane musings, such as remembering, say, what you ate for lunch yesterday. And pondering God? Pretty much the same brain patterns as thinking about people you've never met such as historical figures or movie stars.
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