Serotonin levels?

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Serotonin levels?

Tonight I decided to look up something I've been thinking about, which I heard about a few weeks ago in health class. Serotonin, a chemical in the brain, or something. I vaguely recalled hearing something about it's levels showing relevances to tendencies to follow logic and sound evidence, so I thought 'hm, maybe it might have something to do with religion, too, and the reasons why some people just won't respond to logic.'

Well, from what I could find, in a study of serotonin levels, the people with low levels of serotonin in one of the receptors had a higher tendency to have 'spiritual experiences', while the people with higher levels were the 'technician types' who believed only what they saw with their own eyes.

"There is more to say that low serotonin is linked with people who are open to spiritual or supernatural experiences," explained Farde. "Whereas the higher levels go more with people who believe what they see with their eyes and are not so open to God or other aspects of religion."

This page seems to be more concise, though.

Has anyone else heard anything about this?

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Interesting. Serotonin

Interesting. Serotonin regulates your mood, so the lower the amount, the more likely you are to be depressed. Come to think of it, the few atheists I know seem to be much happier and content than the majority of the Christians. A lot of drugs cause a rush of serotonin (i.e. MDMA), which is why users tend to have deep, profound thoughts and experiences. On the other hand, I have friends that also claim to have spiritual experiences while taking the same drugs, so I guess it just depends on the person and how you define spiritual. I've had spiritual experiences, but I wouldn't credit them to any sort of god.

I also read somewhere that men produce higher levels of serotonin than women...hmm.

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If there ended up being a

If there ended up being a relationship between religiousness and something like serotonin, I would not be surprised. I've often thought about how subtle psychological differences often make distinct differences in approaches to religious ideas. The levels of hormones and other chemichals in the brain obviously have an effect on behavior, so like I said, it would not surprise me.

Neurotheology is a fascinating topic. How much legitimacy it has is still open, however.


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Isn't Sam Harris doing his

Isn't Sam Harris doing his dissertation on effects of religion on the human brain or something like that?

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So when fundamentalism in

So when fundamentalism in America gets out of control and drives the RRS to extremism, you guys know what to spike the water supply with! Eye-wink

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Susan wrote:Isn't Sam Harris

Susan wrote:
Isn't Sam Harris doing his dissertation on effects of religion on the human brain or something like that?

I'm not sure about his dissertation, but I do know he plans on studying neuroimagery (SPECT, PET scanning). These are nuclear imaging technologies, which create images mapping bloodflow within the brain, which is closely tied with metabolism and energy use. Really interesting stuff, I worked in an experimental nuclear cardiology lab designing isotopes to be perfused into the bloodstream for imaging heart disease. I find the brain much more interesting tho =)

As far as low seratonin levels go, I believe the real correlation between it and religion has more to do with the fact that depression and low seratonin levels are cosymptomatic (occur simultaneously). Depressed people are much more likely to suffer from a number of different things, and most interestingly, addiction and impulsiveness. Being that religious imagery and stories are uplifting, they may very well supply the much needed seratonin that a depressed person does not have. Impulsiveness could be a cause for irrationality, and might be a factor in the person accepting something as incredible and unlikely as God. The depressed person may be more desperate and willing to take such an intellectual risk.

Damn, makes me miss my biopsych class =(

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Quote:I also read somewhere

I also read somewhere that men produce higher levels of serotonin than women...hmm.

That might make correlary sense from an artificial selection standpoint if a lot of non-believing women were killed. Particularly with the whole women should serve men non-sense in a lot of religions. There could be all kinds of unknown detriments god belief has inflicted on women. The rest of the iceberg, it seems, is muddied by sentimentality for political correctness.