DOI: 10.14704/nq.2010.8.4.362

The Role of Religious and Mystic Experiences In Human Evolution: A Corollary Hypothesis for NeuroTheology

Todd R. Murphy

Abstract


The adaptive value of maintaining a portion of our population subject to religious, mystic or spiritual experiences is discussed. An evolutionary mechanism, which may be unique to humans, is posited in which all humans have the neural pathways supporting mystic experiences, but only a small portion of our population experiences them. Those that do will display signs and personality traits that are associated with temporal lobe electrical lability or sensitivity. These traits motivate behavior that benefits their social group. The cognitive and affective styles displayed by mystics ensure that multiple perspectives are expressed during collective decision-making processes. The perspectives mystics offer their societies increase the variation within the human “ideational pool”. These perspectives improve their chances for advantageous choices in times of threats or opportunities. Such an adaptation, producing variety in problem-solving skills, might be the source for the exceptionally wide range of personality types found within our species.

Keywords


Out of body experiences; weak magnetic fields; interhemispheric coherence; theta activity; Schumann resonances

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