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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter will review the transformations of brain structure and function associated with spiritual experiences by considering the current state of neurophysiological investigations of spiritual experiences in terms of brain imaging, neurotransmitter studies, hormone function, and immune function. There are currently a number of techniques for studying the brain and its related functions. Such techniques include single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). As will be discussed in this chapter, these imaging techniques can observe the very broad function of different structures of the brain as well as detailed neurotransmitter systems with regard to spiritual experience. Additional studies of various hormone levels, autonomic activity, and immune function can also be integrated into a comprehensive model that can be utilized to help better understand the biological correlates of spiritual experiences.

Keywords: brain, spirituality, religion, experience, fMRI, PET, SPECT, neurotransmitter

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