Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/30/nuns_god/
Nuns have multi-point mind-link to God, say researchers
Er, sort of
Nuns don't have a single G-spot (that is G to God) in their brains after all. This groundbreaking and no doubt riveting piece of information comes courtesy of researchers at the University of Montreal.
The research was prompted by suggestions that religious experiences all involved a common part of the brain. This led some rather excitable people to conclude that there was a part of the brain reserved specifically for communication with God, the BBC reports.
To investigate the hypothesis, researchers hooked 15 nuns up to MRI scanners and asked them to recount religious or mystical experiences they had had.
During the retelling, brain activity was monitored and found to increase in up to 12 regions of the brain, including areas normally associated with emotion and self-consciousness.
Lead researcher Dr Mario Beauregard told the Beeb: "Rather than there being one spot that relates to mystical experiences, we've found a number of brain regions are involved.
"This does not diminish the meaning and value of such an experience and neither does it confirm nor disconfirm the existence of God."
As unlikely as we at El Reg think it is that a region of the brain is reserved for chatting with the big fella, this research doesn't really rule it out. Presumably, none of the nuns was actually having a mystical experience while on the MRI scanners, so all we have are indications of the parts of the brain involved in memory.
Short of strapping all nuns to MRI machines on a permanent basis, though, we're not sure how to design a better experiment.
The work has been published in Neuroscience Letters. ®