Use MRI for: Mystical experiences

Get 15 nuns to relive their most religious/spiritual/mystical experience ( “RSMEs”), and use fMRI to see which parts of their brains get involved.

Using the BOLD effect, Canadian researchers have shown that under these circumstances, many different regions of the brain are involved, which allowed certain online media to report that “nuns don’t have a single G-spot” (G for God, naturally). Very droll. 🙂

It gets better; the Economist noted that the nuns were, effectively, method acting.

The nuns warned the researchers that “God cannot be summoned at will”, and reported that, from a first-person perspective, the experiences lived during the original mystical condition (Unio Mystica) were different than those used to self-induce a mystical state. But the researchers believed that recall and reexperiencing of a state of union with a divine other was sufficiently mystical (or at the very least, the same brain regions would be activated).

I also was heartened to read that

“In addition, the subjects experienced a feeling of unconditional love during the Control condition.”

Read the article at Neuroscience Letters.