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Cover image via Fox 13.
Most Americans, about 89%, say they believe in God, and some have felt God’s presence while listening to a sermon or sensed time stand still while they were in deep prayer or meditation.
Now, a new study shows through functional MRI scans that such religious and spiritual experiences can be rewarding to your brain.
They activate the same reward systems between your ears as do feelings of love, being moved by music, using drugs, gambling and sex, according to the study, which was published in the journal Social Neuroscience on Tuesday.
Mulling over Mormon MRIs
For the study, 19 devout young adult members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had their brains scanned in fMRI machines while they completed various tasks.
The tasks included resting for six minutes, watching a six-minute church announcement about membership and financial reports, reading quotations from religious leaders for eight minutes, engaging in prayer for six minutes, reading scripture for eight minutes, and watching videos of religious speeches, renderings of biblical scenes and church member testimonials.
During the tasks, participants were asked to indicate when they were experiencing spiritual feelings.
As the researchers analyzed the fMRI scans taken of the participants, they took a close look at the degree of spiritual feelings each person reported and then which brain regions were simultaneously activated.
The researchers found that certain brain regions consistently lit up when the participants reported spiritual feelings.
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