Article

The Measurement of Regional Cerebral Blood Flow During Glossolalia

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 12/2006; 148(1):67-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.07.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Glossolalia (or "speaking in tongues") is an unusual mental state that has great personal and religious meaning. Glossolalia is experienced as a normal and expected behavior in religious prayer groups in which the individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language. This is the first functional neuroimaging study to demonstrate changes in cerebral activity during glossolalia. The frontal lobes, parietal lobes, and left caudate were most affected. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Andrew Newberg
  • Source
    • "Even if executive disinhibition has been associated with authoritative suggestions (Deeley, 2003), religious rituals (Schjoedt, et al., 2013), and glossolalia (Newberg, et al., 2006), it has not been directly associated with mystical experience. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mystical experiences, or subjectively believed encounters with a supernatural world, are widely reported across cultures and throughout human history. Previous theories speculate that executive brain functions underpin mystical experiences. To evaluate causal hypotheses, structural studies of brain lesion are required. Previous studies suffer from small samples or do not have valid measures of cognitive functioning prior to injury. We investigated mystical experience among participants from the Vietnam Head Injury Study and compared those who suffered penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI; n=116) with matched healthy controls (HC; n=32). Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping analysis showed that lesions to frontal and temporal brain regions were linked with greater mystical experiences. Such regions included the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and middle/superior temporal cortex (TC). In a confirmatory analysis, we grouped pTBI patients by lesion location and compared mysticism experiences with the HC group. The dlPFC group presented markedly increased mysticism. Notably, longitudinal analysis of pre-injury data (correlating with general intelligence and executive performance) excludes explanations from individual differences. Our findings support previous speculation linking executive brain functions to mystical experiences, and reveal that executive functioning (dlPFC) causally contributes to the down-regulation of mystical experiences.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Neuropsychologia
    • "s including meditation practices ( Herzog et al . , 1990 – 1991 ; Lou et al . , 1999 ; Newberg et al . , 2001 ; Pardo et al . , 1991 ) . However , in practices in which a principle component of the experience is the sense of surrender such as in glossolalia , we found decreased activity in the frontal regions , particularly the prefrontal cortex ( Newberg et al . , 2006 ; Peres et al . , 2012 ) . In the present study , we predicted that we would find the latter , surrender - type activa - tion pattern . ( 2 ) Decreased activation of the parietal lobe struc - tures . Our previous research has shown that meditative prayer , such as Centering prayer , is associated with alterations in the sub - jective ex"
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a case series with preliminary data regarding the neurophysiological effects of specific prayer practices associated with the Islamic religion. Such practices, like other prayer practices, are likely associated with several coordinated cognitive activities and a complex pattern of brain physiology. However, there may also be changes specific to the goals of Islamic prayer which has, as its most fundamental concept, the surrendering of one's self to God. To evaluate Islamic prayer practices, we measured changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in three Islamic individuals while practicing two different types of Islamic prayer. In this case series, intense Islamic prayer practices generally showed decreased CBF in the prefrontal cortex and related frontal lobe structures, and the parietal lobes. However, there were also several regions that differed between the two types of prayer practices including increased CBF in the caudate nucleus, insula, thalamus, and globus pallidus. These patterns also appear distinct from concentrative techniques in which an individual focuses on a particular idea or object. It is hypothesized that the changes in brain activity may be associated with feelings of "surrender" and "connectedness with God" described to be experienced during these intense Islamic prayer practices. Overall, these results suggest that several coordinated cognitive processes occur during intense Islamic prayer. Methodological issues and implications of the results are also discussed. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Physiology-Paris
  • Source
    • "Depending on the tracer, this resolution can be as good as several minutes and as bad as several hours or even days. Usually only two or three states might be measured in the same imaging session if the appropriate radiopharmaceutical is used (Lou et al., 1999; Newberg et al., 2006). Since spiritual experiences may be quite brief, it is not clear how effectively neuroimaging studies might be able to capture the specific moment related to something spiritual. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper will be to provide a perspective on the current state of the research evaluating the neurobiological correlates of spiritual practices and review the methodological issues that confront this research field. There are many types of spiritual practices that might be studied including prayer and meditation, as well as unusual practices such as mediumistic trance states, speaking in tongues, and also drug-induced experiences. Current studies have utilized neuroimaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging, single photon emission computed tomography, and positron emission tomography. These studies have helped elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms associated with spiritual practices. Such studies confront unique challenges for scientific methodology including determining the most appropriate objective measures such as neuroimaging studies and physiological parameters, and correlating them with subjective measures that help capture states of spiritual significance. Overall, a neuroscientific study of spiritual practices and experiences has the potential to provide fascinating data to further our understanding of the relationship between the brain and such phenomena.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Frontiers in Psychology
Show more