Neuroscientists have previously claimed to have found a single region in the brain, a ‘God spot’, associated with religious experiences.
This single region of the brain would ‘push’ us towards the mystical.
However, this has been countered by other researchers who suggested these experiences are far more complex, and draw on multiple areas of the brain.
Researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) and Victoria University of Wellington, believe that instead of activation of a specific area of the brain, it is the suppression of the brain’s regulating functions which boosts our chances of experiencing the mystical.
This would lead to a ‘pull’ as opposed to the ‘push’.
‘Push theories argue that activation of a single “God Spot” causes mystical beliefs, suggesting that injuries to these spots would reduce mysticism,’ explained Dr Joseph Bulbulia from Victoria University.
'In contrast, pull theories argue that the suppression of our inhibitory functions opens up the brain to mystical experiences.
According to scientists, our ability to enter into such mystical experiences is governed by one of two theories: ‘push’ or ‘pull’.
The ‘push’ involves a single area of the brain, a ‘God Spot’. Whereas the ‘pull’ argues that suppression of inhibitory functions opens up the brain to mystical experiences.
From CT scans and questionnaires, researchers were able to predict how likely a person was to have a mystical experience.
Those with damage to regulatory regions of the brain, in the frontal and temporal lobes, were more likely to report mystical experiences compared to healthy controls.