The pineal gland

Graham, D.G., and Armstrong, S.M. (1995) The pineal gland. In: Singer, George, and Graham, Deborah, (eds.) Decade of the Brain. La Trobe University Press, Bundoora, VIC, Australia, pp. 227-234.

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[Extract] Jet lag, shiftwork, some forms of depression and ageing have one thing in common: they all involve cyclical changes linked to time. The search for the function of the human pineal gland has, in the last decade, provided some exciting insights into the control of ill effects associated with disruption to these cycles.

Lying almost in the centre of the human brain, and named because of its resemblance to a pine cone, the pineal gland has been regarded in some Eastern cultures as the 'Third Eye'. It has been claimed that, through meditation and the consequent awakening of the third eye, powerful psychic abilities can be elicited. The following is a quotation from a popular source:

Chakra: pineal, crown. Effect on the body: tranquilising. Draws one farthest away from physical-body awareness. Effect on the metaphysical body: promotes spiritual mastery. Purifies the will. Transforms personal ego into godliness. Promotes humanitarian goals. Used for spiritual protection (Pond and Pond 1989, p. 56).

In Western culture also, mystical qualities have been associated with the pineal gland. In particular, Descartes described the pineal as the 'seat of the soul'. He contended that the pineal, being the only unpaired structure in the brain, must be where the mind and body meet and interact.

Item ID: 12084
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-86324-416-9
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2010 02:35
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 100%
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