Faith and gray matter: New study finds no relationship between brain structure and religiosity


Religion and neurology often seem at odds; an extension of the questionable chasm separating spirituality and science. Indeed, in attempting to explain religious faith, neuroscientists have often sought to highlight subtle differences in brain structure that might confirm a deficiency here or reduction there. A new, preregistered study out of the Netherlands, published in the … Read more

New study links intrinsic religious motivation to higher-level patterns of thought


New research provides evidence that specific forms of religious motivation are associated with higher-level patterns of thought. The findings, which appear in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, shed light on the cognitive underpinnings of the relationship between religion and meaning in life. “I became interested in the psychology of religion after having … Read more

Study of Catholic sisters helps point to the neurological correlates of prayer and mindfulness


Prayer is not often couched in terms of meditation and mindfulness, although the two states share many behavioral and psychological similarities. Both involve mental calm, for example, as well as introspection, daily or regular observation, and certain contextual and behavioral practices, like sitting still in a quiet space. Likewise, little research has been devoted to … Read more

Study pinpoints neural basis for the interplay between a close relationship with God and enhanced sense of control


A recent study offers new evidence that having a close relationship with God serves the psychological purpose of enhancing one’s sense of control. The study was published in Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience. Spiritual belief is a fundamental aspect of human culture, dating back to ancient times. Psychology researchers have explored this tendency toward supernatural … Read more