The neurophysiological correlates of religious chanting

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 12;9(1):4262. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40200-w.


Despite extensive research on various types of meditation, research on the neural correlates of religious chanting is in a nascent stage. Using multi-modal electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods, we illustrate that during religious chanting, the posterior cingulate cortex shows the largest decrease in eigenvector centrality, potentially due to regional endogenous generation of delta oscillations. Our data show that these functional effects are not due to peripheral cardiac or respiratory activity, nor due to implicit language processing. Finally, we suggest that the neurophysiological correlates of religious chanting are likely different from those of meditation and prayer, and would possibly induce distinctive psychotherapeutic effects.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging
  • Religion*
  • Singing*