Joseph Brownstein at ABC News:
Medically speaking, it was just brain surgery. But for some patients, it was a spiritual reawakening.
Researchers report in a new study today that they have found regions of the brain that seem to impact a person's level of spirituality.
The researchers worked with 88 patients with tumors in various locations in the brain and found that those with damage in the parietal region — located in the top rear region of the brain — could be seen to have a change in their attitude toward spirituality, something that tends to be relatively constant in a person.
“This finding highlights the key role of parietal cortices in spirituality and suggests that changes of neural activity in specific areas may modify even inherently stable dispositional traits,” explained Cosimo Urgesi, one of the study's lead researchers and an assistant professor in psychobiology and physiological psychology at the University of Udine in Italy.
The specific scale researchers used to determine spirituality is known as self-transcendence, a measure used to determine spirituality that appears to remain stable in a person over time.