The right hemisphere is primarily involved in holistic representations, perceiving how things are connected into a whole. Holistic functions are not language based and so are more difficult to define or communicate. Spiritual experiences seem to rely on the brain’s holistic functions. Individuals often define spiritual experiences in broad, sweeping, poorly defined terms (e.g., enlightenment, transcendence). When holistic processing predominates, one consciously does not feel a very strong need to analyze, compare, quantify, or justify one’s perceptions or beliefs. Unconscious facial recognition relies heavily on holistic processing. The human brain is capable of both holistic and reductionist thinking but not at the same time. (Tovee, M. “Is face processing special?” Neuron 21:1239-1242. 1998)

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