Neurocognitive explorations of spiritual experience can aid in understanding the underlying mechanism, but these are surprisingly rare. We present the verbal report and the electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha profile of a female participant scoring a maximal 34 on the Absorption Scale, recorded before and while she was immersed in a whole-body perceptual deprivation (WBPD) tank. We analyze her trancelike experience in terms of the imagery reported: a spaceship, corridors, doors, a man dressed in white, speaking to God, the sun, supernova, concentric images, and an out-of-body experience. Her report is indicative of a spiritual experience, given that she felt that she was “meeting God” in the laboratory. She exhibited both frontal and parietal left > right alpha power asymmetry at baseline, whereas in the WBPD condition, there was a global increase in alpha power and especially a sharp increase in right-frontal alpha power. Her verbal report and EEG alpha profile were compared to those of another female participant, also scoring high on absorption, whose verbal report was also indicative of a trancelike experience. For further comparison, we present the data for two participants scoring low on absorption. Spiritual experience that can be verbalized might be associated with a marked increase in right-frontal alpha power, as reported here. In contrast, a mystical experience characterized by ineffability would be indicated by a marked increase in left-frontal alpha power..
Read the full article at the original website