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PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns boost their brain power through meditation and prayer, but even atheists can enjoy the mental benefits that believers derive from faith, according to a popular neuroscience author.
The key, Andrew Newberg argues in his new book "How God Changes Your Brain," lies in the concentrating and calming effects that meditation or intense prayer have inside our heads.
Meditation both activates the frontal lobe, which "creates and integrates all of your ideas about God," and calms down the amygdala, the emotional region that can create images of an authoritative deity and fog our logical thinking.
"Even 10 to 15 minutes of meditation appear to have significantly positive effects on cognition, relaxation and psychological health," the authors declare in the book.