Richard J. Davidson, Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

February 19, 2013

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In this talk, Richard Davidson presents an overview of studies conducted in the laboratory on neural changes associated with different forms of meditation. Distinctions are made between three major forms of meditation practice: Focused Attention, Open Monitoring and Positive Affect Training. These different forms of meditation have different neural and behavioral effects. Data from studies on long-term meditation practitioners, as well as those with shorter durations of training, will be highlighted. In addition, some longitudinal studies that track changes over time with meditation practice will be reviewed. In addition to the neural changes that have been observed, this talk summarizes changes that have been found in peripheral biology that may modulate physical health and illness. The central circuitry of emotion is especially implicated in peripheral biological changes that have consequences for health. The overall conclusions from these studies is that one can transform the mind through meditation and thereby alter the brain and the periphery in ways that may be beneficial for mental and physical health and well-being. Professor Davidson is introduced by President Biddy Martin.

This event was hosted by the Mind and Life Institute and co-sponsored by the Religion and Psychology Departments.