Neural network involvement for religious experiences in worship measured by EEG microstate analysis.

Walter, Yoshija; Koenig, Thomas (2022). Neural network involvement for religious experiences in worship measured by EEG microstate analysis. Social neuroscience, 17(3), pp. 258-275. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/17470919.2022.2083228

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To date, not much is known about large-scale brain activation patterns in religious states of mind and previous studies have not set an emphasis on experience. The present study investigated the phenomenon of religious experiences through microstate analysis, and it was the first neurocognitive research to tackle the dimension of experience directly. Hence, a total of 60 evangelical Christians participated in an experiment where they were asked to engage in worship and try to connect with God. With a bar slider, people were able to continuously rate how strongly they sensed God's presence at any given moment. A selection of songs was used to help in the induction of the desired experience. With 64 electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes, the brain activity was assessed and analyzed with five clusters of microstate classes. First, we hypothesized that the neural network for multisensory integration was involved in the religious experience. Second, we hypothesized that the same was true for the Default Mode Network (DMN). Our results suggested an association between the auditory network and the religious experience, and an association with the salience network as well as with the DMN. No associations with the network thought to be involved with multisensory integration was detected.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center

UniBE Contributor:

König, Thomas




Taylor & Francis




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

27 May 2022 08:18

Last Modified:

27 May 2023 00:25

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

EEG microstates phenomenology religious experience worship




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