A Neuroscientific Look at Speaking in Tongues


November 7, 2006
A Neuroscientific Look at Speaking in Tongues

 The passionate, sometimes rhythmic, language-like patter that pours forth  from religious people who “speak in tongues” reflects a state of mental  possession, many of them say. Now they have some neuroscience to back them  up.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior.


There are tribesman who dance and fast so that they can listen to their deities. I am not being disrespectful of people who speak in tongues, but I do wonder if their is a correlation between such tribesman and those who speak in tongues.

I attended Pentecostal services. The music was very emotional but repetitious. It sort of reminded me of tribal music.


So you’re saying that music is one way to contact the divine?


The divine or the diabolical - in every situation you have to be careful to test WHO it is you’re contacting!


I was just commenting that Pentecostal services that I attended remind me of tribal cultures that are sometimes depicted on documentaries. I mean by that both groups seem to be trying to drive themselves into reaching an emotional high. I wonder if the study would find something similar in both groups of people.

I don’t know if Pentecostals are hooking into the divine or not. That wasn’t what I was trying to say, although I probably just said it all badly anyway.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.