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Serotonin makes us spiritually 'capable'

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Serotonin makes us spiritually 'capable'


Serotonin makes us spiritually susceptible




Via The Huffington Post comes this story from Psychology Today that offers a chemical component to religious leanings. Here's the argument:


"Serotonin, the brain chemical crucial to mood and motivation, also shapes personality to make you susceptible to spiritual experiences. A team of Swedish researchers has found that the presence of a receptor that regulates general serotonin activity in the brain correlates with people's capacity for transcendence, the ability to apprehend phenomena that cannot be explained objectively. Scientists have long suspected that serotonin influences spirituality because drugs known to alter serotonin such as LSD also induce mystical experiences. But now they have proof from brain scans linking the capacity for spirituality with a major biological element."


Basically, the folks whose brain scans showed the highest serotonin receptor activity also showed the strongest spiritual acceptance on personality tests. The authors of the study say this finding contradicts the notion that cultural and environmental factors play the primary role in forming spiritual leanings.


This is a very interesting study, but I hope more work is done on the overall neural networks involved in spiritual feelings. It makes sense that the mystical side of serotonin would be a major factor, but what about other neurotransmitters? Could dopamine be involved in some kind of reward process invoked by religious thoughts? Also, we know Buddhist monks engage the left frontal area of their brains, where we generate positive thoughts, in meditation. Is that also engaged serotonin-spiritual folks? What role could neuroplasticity play between outward influences and internal chemical factors?


This study may generate a "spirituality is chemical" debate in the blogosphere. But it's important to note that more research needs to be done on this topic specifically and on the brain in general before we think we know everything about how the mystical and chemical interact.


By Jess Zielinski




Why do Americans suffer depression in massive numbers?


Is someone or some organization trying to make them depressed?


So they can't be "spiritual" or "connected to the universe" or "universal conconciousness"?


What do "serontin uptake inhibitors" really do?




It may be the "source" of psyhic abilities for others as well...


It may be evidence "information" is in the "universe" and not "your mind..."





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