Monday, August 1, 2011
One of my students (Thanks Kate!) put me onto this amazing paper:
The Neural Substrates of Religious Experience by Jeffrey Saver and John Rabin in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry. The abstract:
Religious experience is brain-based, like all human experience. Clues to the neural substrates of religious-numinous experience may be gleaned from temporolimbic epilepsy, near-death experiences, and hallucinogen ingestion. These brain disorders and conditions may produce depersonalization, derealization, ecstasy, a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, and other experiences that foster religious-numinous interpretation. Religious delusions are an important subtype of delusional experience in schizophrenia, and mood-congruent religious delusions are a feature of mania and depression. The authors suggest a limbic marker hypothesis for religious-mystical experience. The temporolimbic system tags certain encounters with external or internal stimulie as depersonalized, derealized, crucially important, harmonious, and/or joyous, prompting comprehension of these experiences within a religious framework
Take special note of various religious figures and their likely psychiatric maladies in a chart on 501-502.
Posted by Matt McCormick at 11:42 PM