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Study: Language center of the brain is not under the control of subjects who 'speak in tongues'
EurekAlert! News ^ | October 30, 2006 | Staff

Posted on 10/31/2006 6:56:21 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger

First neuroimaging examination of participants practicing glossolalia shows decreased cerebral activity, Penn study shows

(Philadelphia, PA) - Glossolalia, otherwise referred to as "speaking in tongues," has been around for thousands of years, and references to it can be found in the Old and New Testament. Speaking in tongues is an unusual mental state associated with specific religious traditions. The individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language, yet perceives it to have great personal meaning. Now, in a first of its kind study, scientists are shining the light on this mysterious practice -- attempting to explain what actually happens physiologically to the brain of someone while speaking in tongues.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered decreased activity in the frontal lobes, an area of the brain associated with being in control of one's self. This pioneering study, involving functional imaging of the brain while subjects were speaking in tongues, is in the November issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, the official publication of the International Society for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry.

Radiology investigators observed increased or decreased brain activity - by measuring regional cerebral blood flow with SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) imaging - while the subjects were speaking in tongues. They then compared the imaging to what happened to the brain while the subjects sang gospel music.

"We noticed a number of changes that occurred functionally in the brain," comments Principal Investigator Andrew Newberg, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Religious Studies, and Director for the Center for Spirituality and the Mind, at Penn. "Our finding of decreased activity in the frontal lobes during the practice of speaking in tongues is fascinating because these subjects truly believe that the spirit of God is moving through them and controlling them to speak. Our brain imaging research shows us that these subjects are not in control of the usual language centers during this activity, which is consistent with their description of a lack of intentional control while speaking in tongues."

Newberg went on to explain, "These findings could be interpreted as the subject's sense of self being taken over by something else. We, scientifically, assume it's being taken over by another part of the brain, but we couldn't see, in this imaging study, where this took place. We believe this is the first scientific imaging study evaluating changes in cerebral activity -- looking at what actually happens to the brain -- when someone is speaking in tongues. This study also showed a number of other changes in the brain, including those areas involved in emotions and establishing our sense of self."

Newberg concludes that the changes in the brain during speaking in tongues reflect a complex pattern of brain activity. Newberg suggests that since this is the first study to explore this, future studies will be needed to confirm these findings in an attempt to demystify this fascinating religious phenomenon.


TOPICS: Charismatic Christian; Religion & Science
KEYWORDS: epigraphyandlanguage; faithandphilosophy; glossolalia; spirituality; tongues
1 Corinthians 14:6-17, 27-28, 33 (NIV)

Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.

...

If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

...

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.


1 posted on 10/31/2006 6:56:23 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Former friend of my family once was asked if they could attend a speaking-in-tongues service at his Charismatic church.

"Can you say yabba dabba doo?" he replied glibly.


2 posted on 10/31/2006 6:57:38 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger (I'm not paranoid. But everyone thinks I am.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

John Kerry knows what it's like for his mouth to be out of contol.


3 posted on 10/31/2006 7:00:19 PM PST by cripplecreek (If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Of course, "shows decreased cerebral activity". Wonder there is any cerebral activity at all.


4 posted on 10/31/2006 7:00:43 PM PST by GSlob
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Before Babel, what language did they speak? Or was there even a need for spoken language?

We understand very little of our own cerebral anatomy even today. This is not suprising.

5 posted on 10/31/2006 7:07:28 PM PST by rawcatslyentist (Jesus Saves~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~muhamhead Slaves)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Interesting. Yet another thread on the general topic.

Interesting study. Would like to read the whole study. Guess I'll have to look it up.

Thanks.

I hope you have a hazmat suit on.


6 posted on 10/31/2006 7:27:05 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

A Kerry excuse?


7 posted on 10/31/2006 7:30:27 PM PST by Young Werther
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To: Quix

*Shrug* I just posted the study and quoted God's word about the subject.

I think the one I wear for the crevo wars should do. Why, do heated debates take place about speaking in tongues?


8 posted on 10/31/2006 7:32:29 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger (I'm not paranoid. But everyone thinks I am.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
These findings could be interpreted as the subject's sense of self being taken over by something else.

Ah, but what?

9 posted on 10/31/2006 7:40:10 PM PST by Lee N. Field
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I think the one I wear for the crevo wars should do. Why, do heated debates take place about speaking in tongues?
= = =

1. I think the main reason is that satan knows it's a powerful hotline between our spirits and God via Holy Spirit. As such, it's a very powerful weapon against him and his schemes.

2. It's a very humbling thing. Most folks prefer pride and it's destructiveness claiming all the while that they are merely adhering to THEIR SOUND DOCTRINE etc.

3. Many folks psychologicaly are intensely needful of a very tidy boxed, narrow, predictable etc. flavor of Christianity. Such a phenomenon pulls the rug out from under their psychological addictions, dynamics, NEEDS, habits, syndromes.

4. It's popular to make fun of the unconventional, mysterious, complex etc. and all the more so when there are so many strong conflicted feelings about it.

imho, of course.


10 posted on 10/31/2006 8:09:12 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: Lee N. Field

I encourage everyone to be extremely cautious about even imagining to label something Holy Spirit even might be doing as of satan or demonic forces.

Of course there are counterfeits of many things God does. One doesn't counterfeit a $3.00 bill!


11 posted on 10/31/2006 8:10:54 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: DaveLoneRanger; Quix
Sunday morning was thirty, forty miles from home and was in a wee bit of pain, let's say.

Spoke, praised and worshiped in tongues during that very long drive.

Got home felt like a new man, what a Miracle!!!

Wife was flabbergast, also. Drove to daughter's house she's trying to sell. Wife and I gathered around for sale pole, you might say, and said our "yabba-dabba-do" prayers.

Girl rented her house out MINUTES after we left!! MINUTES! [Dad would prefer she rent that house for a couple of years anyway.]

Though never checked the veracity, I read something Ronald Reagan said and in reading between the lines it appears he also had a prayer language. :)

12 posted on 11/01/2006 4:37:44 AM PST by 100-Fold_Return (In Prisons Tattletales Are the Same as Child-Molesters...hmm)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
I'm a pentecostal AND an amateur linguist. It's ineresting how anglophone pentecostals speaking tongues almost always utter English phonemes.

Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and tongues talking are all religious practices observed by non-Christians. And by Christians. I view praying in tongues as an alternate mode of piety that the Scripture endorses, like the other practices listed. Most of the time, it is a natural phenomenon consecrated to holy use. Occasionally (I've experienced it once in 35 years) it can be miraculous. A man I know was overheard worshipping in Spanish, a language he'd never studied.

13 posted on 11/01/2006 4:54:25 AM PST by TomSmedley (Calvinist, optimist, home schooling dad, exuberant husband, technical writer)
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To: 100-Fold_Return

Praise God for His faithfulness and miracles in your life.

A friend of mine asserted she was in a room when Nancy prayed in tongues. I don't know what the astrolager stuff was about--poor teaching and training, maybe.


14 posted on 11/01/2006 8:04:15 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: TomSmedley

Occasionally (I've experienced it once in 35 years) it can be miraculous. A man I know was overheard worshipping in Spanish, a language he'd never studied.
= = =

Very blessed to read of that experienc, example.

I expect such to build in frequency and dramatic impact the closer we get to The Lord's return.


15 posted on 11/01/2006 2:44:49 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: Quix
Quix, was praying in tongues in the truck at WallyWorld waiting for wife to finish shopping.

That same daughter whose house was rented out got a major unexpected job offer with a big boost in pay!!

A couple of hours after i was praying in the wallyworld parking lot!!! Shezam!

Tell your dad hi from TX, Quix.

16 posted on 11/02/2006 6:34:21 AM PST by 100-Fold_Return (In Prisons Tattletales Are the Same as Child-Molesters...hmm)
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To: 100-Fold_Return

PRAISE GOD!

THANKS FOR SHARING.

It is soooo true . . . the person with an experience need never be at the mercy of the poor bloke with only an argument.


17 posted on 11/02/2006 6:46:25 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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