Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Neuropsychology of Spiritual States

  • Andrzej JastrzebskiEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_9031-1


Neuropsychological research into spiritual states is relatively new. Consequently, there is still some ambiguity over how to label this field of scientific inquiry. The beginnings of NSS can be traced back to 1975 when Eugene d’Aquili and Charles Laughlin published The Biopsychological Determinants of Religious Ritual Behavior. Similar research was conducted by John McManus, Roger Sperry, Colwyn Trevarthen, Solomon Katz, Victor Turner, and James Ashbrook (1984), who coined the term “neurotheology,” that was subsequently widely popularized by Andrew Newberg (2010). Other names in this field of research are “neuroscience of spirituality” (Jastrzębski 2018) or “neurospirituality,” “psychotheology,” and “biotheology” (Newberg 2010).

Neuropsychology of spiritual states (NSS) has been developed thanks to the availability of new neuroimaging technologies such as fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography), and SPECT (single photon emission computed...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Human SciencesSt. Paul UniversityOttawaCanada