Striking EEG profiles from single episodes of glossolalia and transcendental meditation

Author: Persinger MA
Conference/Journal: Percept Mot Skills
Date published: 1984
Other: Volume ID: 58 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 127-33 , Word Count: 132

Transient, focal, epileptic-like electrical changes in the temporal lobe, without convulsions, have been hypothesized to be primary correlates of religious experiences. Given these properties, direct measurement of these phenomena within the laboratory should be rare. However, two illustrated instances have been recorded. The first case involved the occurrence of a delta-wave-dominant electrical seizure for about 10 sec. from the temporal lobe only of a Transcendental Meditation teacher during a peak experience within a routine TM episode. The second case involved the occurrence of spikes within the temporal lobe only during protracted intermittent episodes of glossolalia by a member of a pentecostal sect . Neither subject had any psychiatric history. These observations are commensurate with the hypothesis that religious experiences are natural correlates of temporal lobe transients that can be detected by routine EEG measures.