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This week we speak with Dr. Andrew Newberg. Dr. Newberg is a neuroscientist who studies the relationship between brain function and various mental states. He is a pioneer in the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field known as “neurotheology.” His research includes taking brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and trance states, in an attempt to better understand the nature of religious and spiritual practices and attitudes.
Dr. Andrew Newberg is the director of research at the Jefferson Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine and a physician at Jefferson University Hospital. He is board certified in internal medicine and nuclear medicine.
Andrew has been asking questions about reality, truth, and God since he was very young, and he has long been fascinated by the human mind and its complex workings. While a medical student, he met Dr. Eugene d’Aquili, who was studying religious experiences. Combining their interests with Andrew’s background in neuroscience and brain imaging, they were able to break new theoretical and empirical ground on the relationship between the brain and religion.
Andrew’s research now largely focuses on how brain function is associated with various mental states – in particular, religious and mystical experiences. His research has included brain scans of people in prayer, mediation, rituals, and trance states, as well as surveys of people’s spiritual experiences and attitudes. He has also evaluated the relationship between religious or spiritual phenomena and health, and the effect of mediation on memory. He believes that it is important to keep science rigorous and religion religious.
Andrew has also used neuroimaging research projects to study aging and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Guest Published Works:
Dr. Newberg is the author of the books: The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience, Brain Science & The Biology of Belief: Why God Won’t Go Away, Why We Believe What We Believe, How God Changes Your Brain, Principles of Neurotheology, The Metaphysical Mind: Probing the Biology of Philosophical Thought, The New Science of Transformation: How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, and Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflicts, and Increase Intimacy. Check out Dr. Newberg’s website for links to videos, journal publications, and articles he’s written for publications such as USA Today.
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