Moreover, the part of the brain that is responsible for the need to look for the meaning of life and feel a connection with higher forces has hardly undergone evolution since ancient times.
This conclusion was reached by American scientists who published an article in the journal Biological Psychiatry, according to the website Eurekаlert. Scientists conducted an experiment involving 88 people who underwent surgery to remove tumors located in different areas of the brain. Before and after surgery, these people answered questions about their spirituality, such as assessing the degree of their religiosity.
It turned out that a chain in the brain is responsible for the spiritual principle, which passes through one specific area - the periaqued gray matter. Neuroscientists know that this site is also responsible for pain, threat responses, and feelings of compassion and fear. That is, spirituality, in a sense, is nothing more than the sum of these factors: the ability to suppress pain plus altruism plus fear. It is curious that this entire “contour of spirituality” is localized in one of the most evolutionarily preserved structures of the brain.
Damage to parts of this chain, the researchers found, causes delirium in a person. This does not literally mean that religion is a delusion, but it helps to explain the similarities between the two. For example, why deeply religious people are so unshakably convinced of the truth of their ideas. In the past, there have been documented cases of brain damage leading to a person becoming hyper-religious.
However, the spirituality that neuroscientists have studied is not just religiosity. These are the sensations that a person may experience when looking at the starry sky, and feelings at the birth of a child. It is not without reason that there are many receptors for the hormone oxytocin in the periaqued gray matter, which, as you know, causes a close relationship between parents and children.