The team collected data from people with brain damage and patients who had undergone tumor removal. Surveys and research on the brains of volunteers have helped to find an area that is related to the spirituality and religiosity of a person.
The study was conducted by a team from the Brigham Center for Women's Health (Boston, USA). Scientists took data from 88 patients of the department of neurosurgeons who recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. In addition, respondents were asked to take a survey about spiritual acceptance of themselves before and after surgery.
The second experiment involved more than 100 patients with injuries caused by penetrating head trauma. They were also asked to answer questions about religiosity. Details of the work were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
The results of the survey of the first group showed that 33 out of 88 patients became less spiritual, and 29, on the contrary, strengthened their faith. 29 patients did not change their outlook. Using this data and network mapping of the lesions, the scientists tested how religiosity relates to different areas of the brain. They found that spirituality is associated with periaqued gray matter, which is involved in many functions, including fear formation, pain modulation, altruistic behavior, and unconditional love.
The results of the survey of the second group confirmed the conclusions. In addition, the authors of the work found evidence in the literature that patients became more religious after exposure to this area of the brain.
Lesions associated with other neurological and psychiatric symptoms also intersected with the "center" of spirituality. In particular, the damage that causes Parkinson's disease was found to be associated with an area responsible for low spirituality. And the lesions causing delirium and proxy syndrome intersected with areas correlated with increased spirituality and religiosity.
The authors of the work noted that the data they used did not provide information about the environment in which the patients were raised, although this also affects the worldview. Therefore, more studies like this need to be done to confirm the findings. In addition, the team would like to test whether the results of the work can be used in the treatment of patients.