Tag Archives: fMRI

Compassion – an emerging topic in meditation research

An extremely busy period of the academic year has come to an end and after a brief X-massy respite I finally find a bit of time to return to this blog. Instead of commenting on one particular study I start here by discussing a topic that is emerging strongly within meditation research: compassion and the effects of developing it through meditation practice. This new focus deviates quite significantly from the… Read More »

Cognition and Emotion in Meditation – Part 2

In the previous post I discussed evidence for the involvement of emotional processes even when performing a purely cognitive task. A further study investigated which brain areas are involved when a task similar to the Stroop task that was a focus in a previous post, is carried out, while the emotional state of the participant is challenged at the same time. As before, central to the task was the ability… Read More »

Loving Kindness Meditation – Reflections for the festive season

The majority of current research into meditation so far focused on mindfulness-based practices and similar methods. Recently, this has shifted a bit and we see a growing interest in meditation practices aimed at improving love and compassion. First studies, investigating some of the neural underpinnings do emerge, such as the 2012 study by Lee and co-workers. In 2008 Barbara Fredrickson, one of the leading figures of Positive Psychology, published a… Read More »

Meditation practice is associated with reduced mind-wandering

A forthcoming publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports a brain imaging study that shows reduced brain activity during meditation in those brain areas that are typically quite active during day-dreaming or mind-wandering. A research group led by Judson Brewer at the Yale School of Medicine compared experienced meditators with meditation-naïve participants while they engaged in three different kinds of meditation. The researchers used fMRI (functional Magnetic… Read More »