Speaking in tongues has been around for thousands of years, and references to it can be found in the Old and New Testament.
The individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language, yet perceives it to have great personal meaning.
Now, in a first of its kind study, scientists are shining light on this mysterious practice, and are attempting to explain what actually happens physiologically to the brain of someone while speaking in tongues.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered decreased activity in the frontal lobes, an area of the brain associated with being in control of one’s self.
Researchers first looked at devout Buddhists, comparing their brain activity before, and then during deep meditation.
“When our Buddhist meditators were focusing on this visual, sacred object, a couple of things happened in their brain. One is that they activated their frontal lobe. The frontal lobe, right behind the forehead, is what helps us to focus our attention on whatever we’re doing,” Newberg said.
At the same time, of the parietal lobe — the part of the brain that gives us our orientation or sense of self — Newberg said,
“What we had predicted was that if people lose their sense of self, and lose their sense of space and time during a practice, that they would actually be blocking the sensory information that comes into that area, so that it can’t do its normal job. So that area goes dark. And that’s exactly what we saw in our Buddhist meditators.”
Newberg found a similar loss of self with Franciscan nuns, who claim prayer helps them feel at peace and at one with God.
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