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Does a bishop pray when he prays? And does his brain distinguish between different religions?
Sarita Silveira1,2,3,4; Yan Bao1,2,3,5; Lingyan Wang5; Ernst Pöppel1,2,3,5,6; Mihai Avram1,2,7; Fabian Simmank1,2,3; Yuliya Zaytseva1,2,3,8,9; Janusch Blautzik10

Does a religion shape belief-related decisions and influence neural processing? We investigated an eminent bishop of the Catholic Church in Germany by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess neural processing while he was responding to short sentences of the Christian Bible, the Islamic Quran, and the Daodejing ascribed to Laozi in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, continuous praying was further compared to the resting state activity. In contrast to explicit statements of agreeing or not agreeing to different statements from the Bible and the Quran, we found in Experiment 1 no difference in neural activation when the bishop was reading these statements from the two religions. However, compared to reading statements from the Bible, reading statements from the Daodejing resulted in significantly higher activation in the left inferior and middle frontal cortices and the left middle temporal gyrus, although he equally agreed to both statements explicitly. In Experiment 2, no difference during continuous praying and the resting state activity was observed. Our results confirm the difference between explicit and implicit processing, and they suggest that a highly religious person may pray always—or never. On a more general level this observation suggests that ritualized activities might be subliminally represented in resting state activities.

Keywordbrain connectivity explicit judgment fMRI implicit knowledge religious belief resting state
Source PublicationPsyCh Journal
Indexed By其他
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Cited Times:7[WOS]   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document Type期刊论文
Affiliation1.Institute of Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
2.Human Science Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
3.Parmenides Center for Art and Science, Pullach, Germany
4.Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Department, Ludwig-Maximilians- University, Munich, Germany
5.Department of Psychology and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China
6.Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
7.Department of Nuclear Medicine and Neuroimaging Center, Technical University, Munich, Germany
8.National Institute of Mental Health, Klecany, Czech Republic
9.Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, Moscow, Russian Federation
10.Institute for Clinical Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Sarita Silveira,Yan Bao,Lingyan Wang,et al. Does a bishop pray when he prays? And does his brain distinguish between different religions?[J]. PsyCh Journal,2015,4(4):199–207.
APA Sarita Silveira.,Yan Bao.,Lingyan Wang.,Ernst Pöppel.,Mihai Avram.,...&Janusch Blautzik.(2015).Does a bishop pray when he prays? And does his brain distinguish between different religions?.PsyCh Journal,4(4),199–207.
MLA Sarita Silveira,et al."Does a bishop pray when he prays? And does his brain distinguish between different religions?".PsyCh Journal 4.4(2015):199–207.
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