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No 'God Spot' in Brain, Says Recent Study

Update Date: May 14, 2012 11:58 AM EDT

A recent study conducted by the University of Missouri says that there is no "God Spot" in the brain as earlier beliefs suggest.

Previously researchers believed that there was a certain spot in the brain that was responsible for spirituality in a person. However, a recent study carried out by researches from the University of Missouri suggests that spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences.

Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions said, "We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it's not isolated to one specific area of the brain. Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals' spiritual experiences."

The research, published in the International Journal of the Psychology of Religion, included the study of 20 people with traumatic brain injuries that affected the right parietal lobe. It was observed that people who had more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed more feeling of closeness to a higher power.

Johnstone explains this by saying, "Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one's focus on the self. 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."

After making a comparison to other kinds of disciplines, the professor states, "It is like playing the piano. The more you train your brain, the more the brain becomes predisposed to piano playing. Practice makes perfect."

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