Neuroanatomical variability of religiosity

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Paper (help)
Neuroanatomical variability of religiosity
Authors: Dimitrios Kapogiannis, Aron K. Barbey, Michael Su, Frank Krueger, Jordan Grafman
Citation: PLoS ONE 4 (9): e7180. 2009
Database(s): PubMed (PMID/19784372)
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007180.
PMCID:2746321
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Neuroanatomical variability of religiosity reports a magnetic resonance imaging study with voxel-based morphometry for correlating gray matter with religiosity.

Contents

[edit] Abstract from CC-by paper

We hypothesized that religiosity, a set of traits variably expressed in the population, is modulated by neuroanatomical variability. We tested this idea by determining whether aspects of religiosity were predicted by variability in regional cortical volume. We performed structural magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in 40 healthy adult participants who reported different degrees and patterns of religiosity on a survey. We identified four Principal Components of religiosity by Factor Analysis of the survey items and associated them with regional cortical volumes measured by voxel-based morphometry. Experiencing an intimate relationship with God and engaging in religious behavior was associated with increased volume of R middle temporal cortex, BA 21. Experiencing fear of God was associated with decreased volume of L precuneus and L orbitofrontal cortex BA 11. A cluster of traits related with pragmatism and doubting God's existence was associated with increased volume of the R precuneus. Variability in religiosity of upbringing was not associated with variability in cortical volume of any region. Therefore, key aspects of religiosity are associated with cortical volume differences. This conclusion complements our prior functional neuroimaging findings in elucidating the proximate causes of religion in the brain.

[edit] Subjects

Subject group #1 (help)
Healthy adults
Subjects/♂/♀: 40 / 20 / 20
Age: 35.7 (–)
Handedness: Right
Nationality: define nationality
Approval: Neuroscience Institutional Review Board of the National Institutes of Health
Databases:

Group 1 of 40 right-handed healthy adults with 20 males and 20 females were included in the study. The group had a mean age of 35.7. The study on the human subjects was approved by the Neuroscience Institutional Review Board of the National Institutes of Health.

The subject group were also used in a functional neuroimaging experiment reported in Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief.

[edit] Results

The brain scans were analyzed with SPM5, so probably they are normalized to MNI space. Statistical threshold were set to P<0.001 voxel uncorrected and P<0.05 cluster corrected. Brain scans were correlated with principal component score from the analysis of the religiosity survey. PC1, PC2, PC3 and PC4 refer to the four first principal components.

[edit] PC1: Experiencing an intimate relationship with God (positive correlation)

Table 1, part 1 with 2 coordinates

Anatomy
BA
x
y
z
No. vox
t
z
Coordinate search
Plot
1 Right middle temporal pole 21 58 6 -20 382 4.01 Brede Database Brede Wiki NeuroSynth SumsDB Not available
2 Right temporal pole 21 54 12 -26 3.85 Brede Database Brede Wiki NeuroSynth SumsDB Not available

[edit] PC2: Religiosity of upbringing

No areas exceeded threshold

[edit] -PC3: Non-religious pragmatism (positive correlation)


Anatomy
BA
x
y
z
No. vox
t
z
Coordinate search
Plot
1 Right precuneus 7 14 -68 32 574 4.58 Brede Database Brede Wiki NeuroSynth SumsDB Not available
2 Right calcarine gyrus 17 20 -56 20 3.79 Brede Database Brede Wiki NeuroSynth SumsDB Not available

[edit] PC4: Experiencing fear of God's anger (negative correlation)

Table 1, part 4 with 2 coordinates

Anatomy
BA
x
y
z
No. vox
t
z
Coordinate search
Plot
1 Left precuneus 7 -10 -66 52 464 4.18 Brede Database Brede Wiki NeuroSynth SumsDB Not available
2 Left orbitofrontal cortex 11 -32 62 -10 351 3.87 Brede Database Brede Wiki NeuroSynth SumsDB Not available
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