Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Neuroscience of Glossolalia (Speaking in Tongues)

Science meets faith department:

In the study, the researchers used imaging techniques to track changes in blood flow in each woman’s brain in two conditions, once as she sang a gospel song and again while speaking in tongues. By comparing the patterns created by these two emotional, devotional activities, the researchers could pinpoint blood-flow peaks and valleys unique to speaking in tongues.

Ms. Morgan, a co-author of the study, was also a research subject. She is a born-again Christian who says she considers the ability to speak in tongues a gift. “You’re aware of your surroundings,” she said. “You’re not really out of control. But you have no control over what’s happening. You’re just flowing. You’re in a realm of peace and comfort, and it’s a fantastic feeling.”

Contrary to what may be a common perception, studies suggest that people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems. A recent study of nearly 1,000 evangelical Christians in England found that those who engaged in the practice were more emotionally stable than those who did not. Researchers have identified at least two forms of the practice, one ecstatic and frenzied, the other subdued and nearly silent.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Dr. Freud.

I report, you decide. I don't speak in tongues but most of the people I know, love and respect do. The phenomenon is at least as old as the New Testament and many would say long before that.

The link came from a trackback of blogs responding to a WaPo article referring to the aborting of pre-born children whose mothers' amniocentesis tests were positive for Down Syndrome.

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