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Andreas Roepstorff

Rewarding prayers

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We report a highly significant regional increase of the BOLD response in the caudate nucleus in a group of Danish Christians while performing silent religious prayers. The effect was found in a main-effect analysis of high-structured and low-structured religious recitals relative to comparable secular recitals and to a non-narrative baseline. This supports the hypothesis that religious prayer as a form of frequently recurring behavior is capable of stimulating the dopaminergic reward system in practicing individuals. It extends recent research which demonstrates a relation between interpersonal trust and activation in the dopaminergic system to also encompass relations to abstract entities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Pages (from-to)165-168
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2008

    Research areas

  • Dopamine, Habit forming, Nucleus caudatus, Prayer, Reward

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