The University of Utah made a study which found that a small part of the spiritual euphoria is related to the Pavlovian response.
Finding faith can feel similar to falling in love, getting high, or winning the jackpot in a slot machine because all of these activate the same circuits in the brain. This is what a new study from the University of Utah showed. Researchers examined fMRI scans of nineteen Mormons as they were praying or listening to sermons which were designed by the LDS Church to evoke feelings.
The brain regions which handle focused to perception and attention of importance also lit up during the scans. However, the connection between the brain’s reward circuits and spiritual and gambling experiences suggests that religious training may be a form of Pavlovian or classical conditioning according to Jeffrey S. Anderson, who is the senior author.
It is likely that most people are prone to finding pleasure in religion or gambling than others according to Anderson. However, this neurological response is not limited to spiritual human beings. He continued stating that he expected people who are not religious would experience similar brain activation in response to peaceful nature scenes and when listening to profound scientific ideas.
Scientists at the University were very careful not to diminish the complexity of religion in the brain. They stated that the experiences varied, and suggested that a study of every part of the brain, during such an activity might fully understand the systems that power this Pavlovian response.