Volume 13, Number 5 (Supplement of Quran and Medicine 2011)                   amuj 2011, 13(5): 98-106 | Back to browse issues page


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Soufian S, sofian M. Religious experiences in the view of neurology. amuj. 2011; 13 (5) :98-106
URL: http://amuj.arakmu.ac.ir/article-1-961-en.html

Associate professor Arak Medical Sciences University , ma_sofian@yahoo.com
Abstract:   (11356 Views)
Background: Recent advances in biology and medicine have revolutionized human knowledge on the brain and neurology. This has resulted in the emergence of psychological theories on religious beliefs and experiences in different cultures. This review article deals with religious experiences from a neurologic perspective. Materials and Methods: Functional imaging techniques such as SPECT, positron emission tomography (PET), and functional MRI (fMRI) allow for the study of brain functions of religious individuals. Religious acts activate a circuit in the brain site which is known as religious circuit that involves the amygdale, the hippocampus, the limbic system, the anterior temporal lobe, the orbito-frontal, and dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. The religion circuit is regulated by serotonin and dopamin. Long-term religious exercises, such as meditation, activate the frontal lobes which give human beings greater control over the functions of the “self”. The word “self” has been referred to as the nafs in Quran which consists of ‘that which incites to evil’ (alnafs al-ammara), ‘the nafs that blames’ (al-nafs al-lawwama), and ‘the serene self’ (al-nafs al-mutma’inna). Conclusion: Survival of ethical behaviors belonging to the inhibitory behavior depends on the formation of brain connections which can only be obtained through consistent long-term religious exercises.
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Subject: General
Received: 2010/12/21

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