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Do your pets have spiritual experiences?

Saturday, October 16, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: pets, spirituality, health news


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(NaturalNews) Most people recognize that human beings are capable of having spiritual experiences, but do animals share the same ability? According to new research out of the University of Kentucky (UK), they do. Similar brain structures, say scientists, give animals the capability of having out-of-body experiences and other alterations of consciousness in similar ways as humans do.

Published in the journal Neurology, the study hypothesizes that because human brains are capable of being altered to change visual and sensory perception, there is no reason why animals with similar brain structures cannot experience the same things.

"In humans, we know that if we disrupt the (brain) region where vision, sense of motion, orientation in the Earth's gravitational field, and knowing the position of our body all come together, then out-of-body experiences can be caused literally by the flip of a switch," explained Kevin Nelson, a professor of neurology at UK, to Discovery News. "There is absolutely no reason to believe it is any different for a dog, cat, or primate's brain."

Part of the backing for this claim has to do with near-death experiences when people feel as though they are traveling through a tunnel towards a bright light. According to Nelson, such an experience occurs because of low blood flow to the eyes, and the subsequent ways in which the eyes interpret rapid eye movement (REM) -- a capability that, as far as he is concerned, animals also possess.

"[T]he link between REM and the physiological crises causing near-death experience are most strongly linked in animals, like cats and rats, which we can study in the laboratory," Nelson explained further.

The team also correlated similarities between animal and human brain structures that give rise to mystical experiences, noting that both systems permit "experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective".

Sources for this story include:

http://news.discovery.com/animals/animals-sp...

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