The Neuroscience of Religious Experience
Recent technical advances in the life and medical sciences have revolutionized our understanding of the brain, while the emerging disciplines of social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience continue to reveal the connections of the higher cognitive functions and emotional states associated with religious experience to underlying brain states. At the same time, a host of developing theories in psychology and anthropology posit evolutionary explanations for the ubiquity and persistence of religious beliefs and the reports of religious experiences across human cultures, while gesturing toward physical bases for these behaviors. What is missing from this literature is a strong voice speaking to these behavioral and social scientists - as well as to the intellectually curious in the religious studies community - from the perspective of a brain scientist.
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