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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.

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
The altered state of consciousness and temporary lack of ego that results from using psychedelic drugs could help some mental health patients recover from their symptoms, according to academics.
Posted: August 8, 2017, 6:54 pm
Muslim immigrants who feel marginalized and discriminated against in countries that expect them to integrate into their culture and society are more likely to experience psychological threats to their own significance that could be related to increased support of radicalism, according to new research.
Posted: August 5, 2017, 6:49 pm
When it comes to success in sports, coaches and athletes understand that there's a mental component, but many don't have an understanding of how to prepare psychologically. That's where the concept of mindfulness can be beneficial, via a program to help athletes and coaches at all levels develop that mental edge and improve their performance.
Posted: August 4, 2017, 1:13 pm
Many people in rural African communities still believe that disability is caused by supernatural forces, curses and as ‘punishment’ for wrongdoings, according to research.
Posted: August 3, 2017, 7:28 pm
Researchers found significant improvement in the quality of parenting among mothers who participated in a trauma-informed, mindfulness-based parenting intervention while also in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
Posted: July 27, 2017, 5:06 pm
Two studies examine the personality characteristics that drive dogmatism in the religious and nonreligious. In both groups, higher critical reasoning skills were associated with lower levels of dogmatism. But these two groups diverge in how moral concern influences their dogmatic thinking.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm
New research examines how frequently and in what order different aspects of self-reported near-death-experiences occur. By analyzing written first-hand accounts of near-death-experiences, the researchers looked at whether specific aspects of these experiences tend to occur in the same order for different people. They found that even though some events are more common, and some are more likely to follow one another, near-death-experiences tend to be unique to the individual in terms of chronology.
Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm
A study of older adults finds an individual's awareness of aging is not as static as previously thought, and that day-to-day experiences and one's attitude toward aging can affect an individual's awareness of age-related change -- and how that awareness affects one's mood.
Posted: July 20, 2017, 2:31 pm
The number of Southern natives and the average education level in a county are the most influential factors on the odds of a US public school using corporal punishment, according to new research.
Posted: July 12, 2017, 6:56 pm
Religious participation is linked to lower suicide rates in many parts of the world, including the United States and Russia, but does not protect against the risk of suicide in sections of Europe and Asia, according to new research.
Posted: June 28, 2017, 2:23 pm
Research has shown that how trusting a person is may depend, at least in part, on his or her genes. However, distrust does not appear to be inherited in the same way, according to a new study.
Posted: June 20, 2017, 6:29 pm
It seems like we are hearing more and more about mindfulness-based meditation and the role it plays in stress reduction. But what exactly is mindfulness-based meditation and why is the practice getting so much attention?
Posted: June 19, 2017, 5:43 pm
Imagine walking along a beach on a lovely day. As you turn to continue along the coast path feeling calm and relaxed you suddenly hear your dentist say 'Fine, all done, you can take the headset off now'. For patients at one dental practice in Devon, England, such Virtual Reality encounters are resulting in demonstrably better experiences in the dentist's chair.
Posted: June 14, 2017, 1:18 pm
Just ten minutes of mindfulness meditation could be used as an alternative to painkillers, according to new research.
Posted: June 12, 2017, 1:46 pm
People who attend worship services live longer and have less stress, new research indicates.
Posted: June 1, 2017, 4:52 pm
Though it has gained popularity in the West as medically and psychologically beneficial, meditation can produce a much wider variety of outcomes, not all of them calm and relaxing, according to a new study that analyzes meditation-related challenges.
Posted: May 24, 2017, 6:17 pm
A new study shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth can improve women's childbirth experiences and reduce their depression symptoms during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.
Posted: May 24, 2017, 5:11 pm
Living in a city could significantly increase young people's vulnerability to psychotic experiences, according to a new study.
Posted: May 23, 2017, 12:33 pm
Through targeted training, people can be guided to develop a better inner awareness about their own mental states, and to have a better understanding of the mental state of others. This helps us deal with current global challenges.
Posted: May 18, 2017, 2:40 pm
The question about why more intelligent people tend to be atheistic dates back to the times of Romans and Ancient Greeks. The link between intelligence and religion can be explained if religion is considered an instinct, and intelligence the ability to rise above one's instincts.
Posted: May 17, 2017, 2:12 pm
Using a subtle, indirect measurement technique, psychology researchers have found that there are probably a lot more atheists (people who don't believe in God) in the U.S. than show up in telephone polls.
Posted: May 16, 2017, 6:34 pm
Researchers have debunked the myth that extreme sportsmen and women are adrenalin junkies with a death wish, according to a new study.
Posted: May 9, 2017, 1:36 pm
Just 10 minutes of daily mindful mediation can help prevent your mind from wandering and is particularly effective if you tend to have repetitive, anxious thoughts, according to a study.
Posted: May 1, 2017, 1:43 pm
As new and more effective human reproductive genetic technologies develop, people of faith are more likely to disapprove of these tools than nonreligious people, a new study found.
Posted: April 25, 2017, 6:31 pm
Few studies have looked at whether mindfulness meditation is equally effective among men and women in addressing mood, but a new study in a college setting found a substantial difference.
Posted: April 20, 2017, 3:38 pm