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Spirituality News -- ScienceDaily

A scientific look at the nature of spirituality, including meditation, near death experiences, religion and altered states of consciousness.

More than a quarter of people who regularly meditate have had a 'particularly unpleasant' psychological experience related to the practice, including feelings of fear and distorted emotions, a new study has found.
Posted: May 9, 2019, 6:27 pm
In a survey of thousands of people who reported having experienced personal encounters with God, researchers report that more than two-thirds of self-identified atheists shed that label after their encounter, regardless of whether it was spontaneous or while taking a psychedelic.
Posted: April 23, 2019, 6:55 pm
For time-crunched medical students, taking a two-hour introductory class on mindfulness may be just as beneficial for reducing stress and depression as taking an eight-week meditation course, a study finds.
Posted: April 15, 2019, 7:47 pm
Subtle, hidden and everyday acts of resistance and defiance by people with limited resources could have an impact on markets in societies where state and religion is all-powerful. These are the key findings of a new study which shows consumers and individuals can help markets to evolve in societies where they cannot freely and openly participate in them.
Posted: April 15, 2019, 2:50 pm
People who believe in oneness -- the idea that everything in the world is connected and interdependent -- appear to have greater life satisfaction than those who don't, regardless of whether they belong to a religion or don't, according to new research.
Posted: April 11, 2019, 2:18 pm
Big data analyses by an international research team suggest that moralizing gods are rather the product than the drivers of social complexity.
Posted: March 20, 2019, 6:11 pm
Researchers have discovered that use of the synthetic psychedelic 5-methocy-N,-N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) appears to be associated with unintended improvements in self-reported depression and anxiety when given in a ceremonial group setting. 5-MeO-DMT is a psychedelic that is found in the venom of Bufo Alvarius toads, in a variety of plants species, and can be produced synthetically.
Posted: March 18, 2019, 5:26 pm
Christians' attitudes toward the environment and climate change are shaped by whether they hold a view of humans as having stewardship of the Earth or dominion over the planet, and reading material from religious sources advocating a stewardship interpretation can increase their concern for environmental issues, a new study found.
Posted: March 11, 2019, 6:58 pm
Mental health among university students could be improved by introducing mindfulness training. These are the findings from the first UK study to measure the efficacy of mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on students.
Posted: March 11, 2019, 4:52 pm
Making people more aware of their own internal body signals, such as heartbeat or breathing rate, could promote positive body image, according to new research.
Posted: February 28, 2019, 2:36 pm
Do children raised by religious parents have better social and psychological development than those raised in non-religious homes? In a new study, researchers found that religion can be a mixed blessing for children as they get older.
Posted: February 7, 2019, 5:32 pm
A new study documents how the quality of a person's romantic relationship and the life stress he or she experiences at two key points in early adulthood (at age 23 and 32) are related to sleep quality and quantity in middle adulthood (at age 37).
Posted: February 6, 2019, 2:14 pm
When entrepreneurs are feeling exhausted but can't afford the time for adequate sleep, they may be able to replenish their energy with mindfulness exercises such as meditation.
Posted: February 4, 2019, 10:22 pm
Positive interactions on social media are not making young adults feel more connected, whereas negative experiences increase the likelihood of them reporting loneliness.
Posted: January 22, 2019, 5:55 pm
The late Stephen Hawking famously didn't believe in God. Neither does the renowned Richard Dawkins. But is that typical for U.K. scientists?
Posted: December 19, 2018, 4:55 pm
Researchers have discovered a link between meditation and how individuals respond to feedback.
Posted: December 11, 2018, 3:30 pm
Researchers have revealed that one quarter of suicide attempts are associated with dysfunction in how the brain interprets basic perceptual information, such as what we see, hear and think. The research shows that this dysfunction can predict suicidal behavior, and offers new prospects for treatment and suicide prevention.
Posted: November 28, 2018, 4:49 pm
A large study links social isolation with a higher risk of death from all causes combined and heart disease for all races studied, and with increased cancer mortality in white men and women.
Posted: November 16, 2018, 4:06 pm
A new study finds that attempts by parents and religious leaders or therapists to change the sexual orientation of LGBT adolescents ('conversion therapy') contribute to multiple health and adjustment problems in young adulthood. These include higher levels of depression and suicidal behavior, as well as lower levels of self-esteem, social support and life satisfaction, and lower levels of education and income in young adulthood.
Posted: November 8, 2018, 6:05 pm
Artificial intelligence can help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to new research. The study combined computer modelling and cognitive psychology to create an AI system able to mimic human religiosity, allowing them to better understand the conditions, triggers and patterns for religious violence.
Posted: October 31, 2018, 12:06 pm
A multi-disciplinary research team is bridging the gap between psychology and gamification that could significantly impact learning efforts in user experience design, healthcare, and government.
Posted: September 26, 2018, 12:24 pm
Ever wonder why some people seem to feel less pain than others? A study may have found one of the answers -- mindfulness.
Posted: September 7, 2018, 3:04 pm
New research finds that religious people who lack friends and purpose in life turn to God to fill those voids. However, the findings do not suggest that people who are socially disconnected are more likely to become religious if they were not already.
Posted: August 30, 2018, 3:30 pm
New research suggests people who are religious gain happiness from believing there is a deeper meaning to everyday events.
Posted: August 30, 2018, 1:53 pm
Australian university students give far more credit than the previous generation to the science of human evolution and far less to creationism or divine guidance, according to a landmark new study. The extent and pace of decline in the Australian students' commitment to religious views about divine creation, especially creationism, is in distinct contrast to the corresponding beliefs among American students and the American public.
Posted: August 21, 2018, 4:55 pm
Younger generations of religious Americans tend to closely harbor concerns for the environment via stewardship more so than older parishioners, according to a new study.
Posted: August 11, 2018, 3:07 pm
Many people think of psychedelics as relics from the hippie generation or something taken by ravers and music festival-goers, but they may one day be used to treat disorders ranging from social anxiety to depression, according to new research.
Posted: August 9, 2018, 6:12 pm
A majority of young adults with severe mental illness -- bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or major depression -- consider religion and spirituality relevant to their mental health, according to a new study.
Posted: July 30, 2018, 4:03 pm
A new survey finds a majority of Americans support the idea of using gene editing with the goal of delivering direct health benefits for babies. Yet, a majority also considers the use of gene editing to boost a baby's intelligence as something that takes technology 'too far.'
Posted: July 26, 2018, 8:27 pm
New research measuring the importance of religion in 109 countries spanning the entire 20th century has reignited an age-old debate around the link between secularization and economic growth. The study has shown that a decline in religion influences a country's future economic prosperity.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 6:31 pm
A deep analysis of a series of surveys across 16 countries that spanned several years shows that people who are on the conservative end of the political spectrum believe their lives are meaningful while those on the liberal end continue to search for meaning.
Posted: July 17, 2018, 4:58 pm
Researchers have gained new information on brain activity during general anesthesia by recording changes in the electrical activity of the brain. They discovered that changes in electroencephalogram correlated with the loss of consciousness itself and also by the non-specific effects of the drugs. Nearly all participants recalled dreaming during unresponsiveness and, somewhat surprisingly, words presented during anesthesia were still processed in the brain even though the participants were unable to recall them later.
Posted: July 3, 2018, 2:56 pm
New studies suggest mindfulness-based CBT could significantly help tinnitus sufferers.
Posted: July 2, 2018, 1:40 pm
A new study of injured athletes found they can benefit from using mindfulness as part of the sport rehabilitation process to improve their pain tolerance and awareness.
Posted: June 26, 2018, 3:33 pm
As World Cup fever sets in, increased hooliganism and soccer (football) related violence are legitimate international concerns. Previous research has linked sports-related hooliganism to 'social maladjustment' e.g. previous episodes of violence or dysfunctional behavior at home, work or school etc. However, social bonding and a desire to protect and defend other fans may be one of the main motivations not only for football hooliganism, but extremist group behavior in general, according to new research.
Posted: June 24, 2018, 4:12 am
or a thousand years, people have reported feeling better by meditating but there are few systematic studies that quantified stress and how much stress changes as a direct result of meditation, until now.
Posted: June 21, 2018, 3:19 pm
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) - the relaxing 'brain tingles' experienced by some people in response to specific triggers, such as whispering, tapping and slow hand movements -- may have benefits for both mental and physical health, according to new research.
Posted: June 21, 2018, 2:13 pm
Researchers have found that individuals who regularly attend church and report that religion is very important in their daily decision making are less likely to use marijuana recreationally and medically.
Posted: June 19, 2018, 9:35 pm
A new nationwide study of obituaries has found that people with religious affiliations lived nearly four years longer than those with no ties to religion.
Posted: June 13, 2018, 8:30 pm
Weather-related disasters can make people more religious but it depends on the toll they inflict, suggests new research. If a disaster injures a significant number of people, it can strengthen religiosity among those who are already religious. But if a disaster inflicts mostly economic damage, the opposite effect applies.
Posted: June 5, 2018, 9:25 pm
Scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.
Posted: June 1, 2018, 9:00 pm
The level of sex hormones such as testosterone in a man's body could influence his religiosity. A new study now adds to the growing body of evidence that religiosity is not only influenced by upbringing or psychological makeup, but physiological factors could also play a role.
Posted: May 30, 2018, 3:32 pm
A new study suggests that as little as two weeks of compassion meditation training -- intentionally cultivating positive wishes to understand and relieve the suffering of others -- may reduce the distress a person feels when witnessing another's suffering. The findings may have implications for professions in which people routinely work with others who are suffering, like doctors, law enforcement officers and first responders.
Posted: May 22, 2018, 9:00 pm
It has long been claimed by Yogis and Buddhists that meditation and ancient breath-focused practices, such as pranayama, strengthen our ability to focus on tasks. A new study explains for the first time the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention.
Posted: May 10, 2018, 2:12 pm
Challenges and differences in opinion are inevitable when working in a team. But new research suggests some of these conflicts can be reduced, or even avoided, through team mindfulness.
Posted: May 3, 2018, 6:26 pm
New research has found that taking vitamin B6 could help people to recall their dreams.
Posted: April 27, 2018, 2:02 pm
Mindfulness meditation programs have shown promise for the treatment of anxiety, one of the most common mental health disorders in the US. New research suggests people can begin to derive psychological and physiological benefits from the practice after a single introductory session.
Posted: April 23, 2018, 5:50 pm
In a student-led study, one hour of mindfulness meditation shown to reduce anxiety and some cardiovascular risk markers.
Posted: April 20, 2018, 4:28 pm
Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study.
Posted: April 5, 2018, 1:32 pm
Regular and intensive meditation sessions over the course of a lifetime could help a person remain attentive and focused well into old age. This is according to the most extensive longitudinal study to date examining a group of meditation practitioners.The research evaluates the benefits that people gained after three months of full-time meditation training and whether these benefits are maintained seven years later.
Posted: March 28, 2018, 2:37 pm
Psychedelic mushrooms likely developed their "magical" properties to trip up fungi-munching insects, suggests new research.
Posted: February 27, 2018, 4:55 pm
Subjected to the same practice exercise, the group of students that participated in mindfulness sessions obtained better results than those that did not take part in this activity.
Posted: February 8, 2018, 5:08 pm
New research has suggested meditation's role in making individuals better people is limited.
Posted: February 5, 2018, 2:29 pm
Mindfulness strategies may help prevent or interrupt cravings for food and drugs, such as cigarettes and alcohol, by occupying short term memory, according to a new review.
Posted: January 30, 2018, 5:37 pm
Adolescents who have experienced some form of racism between the ages of 11 and 23 are more likely to take up smoking than those who have not, according to a new study.
Posted: January 24, 2018, 7:37 pm
There has been no "greening of Christianity" among people in the pews, despite efforts by some religious leaders to emphasize environmental stewardship, according to new research.
Posted: January 23, 2018, 4:30 pm
In contrast to adults, acceptance of evolution in schoolchildren in the UK is linked to their scientific aptitude rather than conflicts with belief systems, say scientists.
Posted: January 11, 2018, 3:14 pm
Research has shown all the techniques we employ to reduce the stress of worry don't work. Now an expert has found something that can help: 'mindfulness' meditation. That is, focusing on the present using meditation. The research has found that mindfulness is a sort of antidote to the 'curse' of waiting.
Posted: December 4, 2017, 2:50 pm
Not every kind of science skepticism is the same. For example, skepticism about climate change is linked to political ideology, whereas skepticism about vaccinations consistently correlates with religious beliefs. In contrast, skepticism about genetically modified foods is not fuelled by religious or political ideology. These are some of the major findings of a new research study among North Americans.
Posted: December 1, 2017, 3:47 pm
People who are frustrated because their basic psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and feeling competent are not met are more likely to have a recurring bad dream and to analyze their dreams negatively.
Posted: November 30, 2017, 4:24 pm