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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.

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
White male gun owners who have lost, or fear losing, their economic footing tend to feel morally and emotionally attached to their guns, according to a study. They are also more likely to say the violence against the government is sometimes justified.
Posted: November 27, 2017, 2:11 pm
When people feel targeted because of their religious identity, they can experience a psychological threat that may undermine psychological well-being and increase prejudice toward other groups, according to a new study.
Posted: November 14, 2017, 7:23 pm
More than one-third of Latinos interviewed in a recent study believe science education may have a negative impact on the religious faith of their children.
Posted: November 14, 2017, 12:50 am
A psychedelic drug traditionally used in South America improves people's general sense of wellbeing and may offer a treatment for alcoholism and depression, new research suggests.
Posted: November 9, 2017, 2:31 pm
Religious beliefs are not linked to intuition or rational thinking, according to a new study. Previous studies have suggested people who hold strong religious beliefs are more intuitive and less analytical, and when they think more analytically their religious beliefs decrease. But new research suggests that is not the case, and that people are not 'born believers'.
Posted: November 8, 2017, 2:24 pm
Mindfulness may offer an active coping mechanism for mothers faced with the stress of having a newborn diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD). Mindfulness, which aims to increase a person's awareness and acceptance of daily experiences, is currently used in a variety of healthcare settings as a potentially effective skill for stress reduction, emotion, affect and attention regulation.
Posted: November 2, 2017, 4:49 pm
The worldwide pattern of religious affiliation at the time of death is expected to change over the next 50 years, with distinct regional trends. This is the first study to analyze the demographics of religious affiliation at the time of death on a global scale and to make projections until 2060. Despite the importance of religious affiliation for health- and death-related behavior, there have been few global predictions of this kind.
Posted: October 31, 2017, 4:03 pm
Researchers have identified a pathway in the brain that seems to connect exposure to adverse experiences during early childhood with depression and problems with physical health in teens and preteens.
Posted: October 30, 2017, 3:22 pm
A new study found that one component of mindfulness interventions is particularly important for impacting stress biology. Acceptance, or learning how to be open and accepting of the way things are in each moment, is critical for the training's stress reduction effects. The researchers offer the first scientific evidence that a brief mindfulness meditation mobile app that incorporates acceptance training reduces cortisol and systolic blood pressure in response to stress.
Posted: October 23, 2017, 4:35 pm
New research has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening and can control the experience.
Posted: October 19, 2017, 2:08 pm
Meditation can have positive effects on our health and well-being. However it has been unclear which mental practice has which effect, and what the underlying processes are. Researchers have discovered that different trainings affect either our attention or our social competencies and modify different brain networks. One mental technique was able to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. These results may influence the adaptation of mental trainings in clinics and education.
Posted: October 4, 2017, 6:26 pm
A team of neuroscientists has uncovered how our brains organize, over time, our experiences: that is, according to their similarities.
Posted: September 27, 2017, 4:36 pm
Practicing brief sessions of Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation can significantly improve brain function and energy levels, according to a new study.
Posted: September 6, 2017, 2:34 pm
Little fungi pack a punch: 'Magic mushrooms' of the Psilocybe species produce psychoactive compounds that alter perception when ingested. Recently, the effects on the neuronal system caused by their ingredient psilocybin have attracted the interest of pharmacologists. Scientists have now identified four of the enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of psilocybin. Researchers describe the biosynthetic pathway and introduce a synthetic route that could form the basis of biotechnological production.
Posted: August 25, 2017, 2:39 pm
A new research article investigates the effects of yoga and meditation on people by looking at physiological and immunological markers of stress and inflammation. By studying the participants of an intensive three-month yoga and meditation retreat, the researchers found that the practices positively impacted physiological and immunological markers of stress and inflammation, and in addition improved subjective wellbeing.
Posted: August 22, 2017, 2:48 pm
A commonly proposed solution to help diffuse the political and religious polarization surrounding controversial scientific issues like evolution or climate change is education. However, researchers found that the opposite is true: people's beliefs about scientific topics that are associated with their political or religious identities actually become increasingly polarized with education, as measured by years in school, science classes, and science literacy.
Posted: August 21, 2017, 7:11 pm
People who hear voices that other people can't hear may use unusual skills when their brains process new sounds, according to new research.
Posted: August 21, 2017, 12:57 pm
People who hear voices -- both with and without a diagnosed psychotic illness -- are more sensitive than other subjects to a 125-year-old experiment designed to induce hallucinations. And the subjects' ability to learn that these hallucinations were not real may help pinpoint those in need of psychiatric treatment, suggests a new study.
Posted: August 10, 2017, 6:16 pm