University of Pennsylvania Study Reveals What Happens To The Brain When Speaking in Tongues

University of Pennsylvania Study Reveals What Happens To The Brain When Speaking in Tongues

Research scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered what happens to brain functions when speaking in tongues. 

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine  discovered decreased activity in the frontal lobes, a part of the brain associated with being in control of one’s self. 

“We noticed a number of changes that occurred functionally in the brain,” comments Principal Investigator Andrew Newberg, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Religious Studies, and Director for the Center for Spirituality and the Mind, at Penn. “Our finding of decreased activity in the frontal lobes during the practice of speaking in tongues is fascinating because these subjects truly believe that the spirit of God is moving through them and controlling them to speak. Our brain imaging research shows us that these subjects are not in control of the usual language centers during this activity, which is consistent with their description of a lack of intentional control while speaking in tongues.”

Newberg went on to explain, “These findings could be interpreted as the subject’s sense of self being taken over by something else. We, scientifically, assume it’s being taken over by another part of the brain, but we couldn’t see, in this imaging study, where this took place. We believe this is the first scientific imaging study evaluating changes in cerebral activity -- looking at what actually happens to the brain -- when someone is speaking in tongues. This study also showed a number of other changes in the brain, including those areas involved in emotions and establishing our sense of self.”

The study, done only at Penn, examined five subjects in a laboratory setting. 

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