Neuronal generators of posterior EEG alpha reflect individual differences in prioritizing personal spirituality

Tenke, C.E.; Kayser, J.; Miller, L.; Warner, V.; Wickramaratne, P.; Weissman, Myrna M.; Bruder, G.E.

Prominent posterior EEG alpha is associated with depression and clinical response to antidepressants. Given that religious belief was protective against depression in a longitudinal study of familial risk, we hypothesized that individuals who differed by strength of spiritual beliefs might also differ in EEG alpha. Clinical evaluations and self-reports of the importance of religion or spirituality (R/S) were obtained from 52 participants, and again at 10-y followup when EEG was measured. EEG alpha was quantified using frequency PCA of current source densities (CSD-fPCA). Participants who rated R/S as highly important at initial assessment showed greater alpha compared to those who did not. Those who rated R/S important in both sessions showed greater alpha than those who changed their ratings. EEG differences were particularly well-defined for participants with lifetime depression. Findings extend the view of alpha as a marker for affective processes, suggesting an association with the ontogenesis of spirituality.


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Biological Psychology

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February 1, 2022