Secular Student Alliance @ Sacramento State University

New Event, The Neurobiology of Religious Experience

The Neurobiology of Religious Experience


Dr. Sarah Strand

Tuesday, October 22, 2013   6pm

Sacramento State University, Orchard Suite, 2nd Floor Union


This month the Secular Student Alliance is hosting a FREE event featuring Dr. Sarah Strand on the neurobiology of religion and religious experiences.

The Science

Dr. Strand will talk about how to induce an out-of-body experience and why people tend to feel a sense of peace and connection when they have one.  To many people, this proves the existence of a spiritual world inhabited by god(s). Dr. Strand explains just how fallacious this argument is.

Evidence increasingly demonstrates that the feelings associated with religious experiences play a primary role in people being intensely religious.  Andy Thompson of the Richard Dawkins Foundation has written about the ways in which religion latches onto human characteristics developed during our evolutionary history.  Dr. Strand will focus on what cortices of the brain are associated with religion, and how religious experiences induce strong sensations of pleasure, providing an illusion of an invisible friend in a world beyond ours. She will tell you who William James, Olaf Blanke, and Michael Persinger are and what they have in common.

And if all that fails to convince you to attend, then come for a funny god cartoon and to see a woman wearing a football helmet who sees floating spiritual entities.  How can you resist that?


When Dr. Strand last gave this talk in Sacramento at a large atheist gathering, it was highly rated.

Here are some members’ comments:

“A great, succinct presentation. Very well done!”

“What a great talk! Now I see how my sister could have really seen angels around her bed at the age of 5. This is her trump card proof of God to this day.”

“Great presentation, fun and informative. I understand a bit better now that it’s not all about indoctrination and tradition.”

Dr. Strand is a Professor of Psychology at Sacramento State University and Research Supervisor of Neurobiology at UC Davis.


Daily parking passes are available for $6 in lots adjacent to the University Union; however, we are currently securing a parking lot to provide free parking. Check back soon for details.


October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment