Category Archives: Research Blog

Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation

Published a few days ago: In this focused review article I consider three main points: First, I present the general framework or skeleton (the Liverpool Mindfulness Model) my group uses as guidance for our meditation/mindfulness work . Second, I present a model that summarises the basic principles of a simple mindful breathing meditation, considering the levels of subjective/phenomenological experience of the meditator during the practice, the cognitive processes we assume… 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 »

Cognition and Emotion in Meditation

Research has convincingly shown the positive effects of mindfulness meditation practice on attentional mechanisms. I discussed some of these findings in previous blogs, for instance the evidence that mindfulness practice is linked to improved attentional control, which is also evidenced by neural markers that show improved selective attention as well as improved conflict resolution mechanisms. While the refinement of attention skills certainly is a central aspect of many forms of… 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 improves telomerase activity

Meditation improves telomerase activity: a healthier life – but not for all! Three months in a meditation retreat may have significant influence on a core marker of our health and biological age, a study found. Some readers will be aware of the Shamatha project, where individuals with prior meditation experience took part in a 3-month intensive meditation retreat and were subjected to a range of different tests and analyses. Researchers… Read More »

Meditation changes brain connectivity

– a recent study revealed underlying mechanisms of white matter change Over the last few years, research has established that meditation practice influences various aspects of our cognitive and emotional life in positive ways. It is exciting to see that such improvements also seem to be reflected in changes to the brain structure. Indeed, several studies revealed specific differences between meditators and non-meditators regarding cortical thickness, grey matter and white matter… Read More »

back from the summer break

The summer seems to come to an end slowly – at least I returned from various short breaks, meeting great meditation teachers and good old friends. I hope you also had some time to rest and reflect on what is important in life and ‘return’ with strength and clarity. Well, I am still away from my desk, meeting colleagues in Germany to discuss some of our ongoing, exciting meditation research projects… Read More »

Buddhism and Science Day in London

Buddhists and Scientists explore the nature of consciousness On Wednesday 20 June three Buddhists and Scientists will meet in London to explore the nature of consciousness and its role in nature – combining perspectives from Tibetan Buddhism, Neuroscience, Psychology and Physics             The three speakers, Alan Wallace, Peter Malinowski and Harald Atmanspacher will convene to present and discuss their perspectives on consciousness. To find out more about… Read More »

Dalai Lama praises scientific research into meditation

On becoming this year’s recipient of the Templeton Award and receiving the related cash award of $ 1.7 million, the Dalai Lama announced that he would be giving his prize money away and that $ 200,000 of it would go to the Mind & Life Institute for being at the “forefront of organizing dialogue between modern science and spirituality.”             In his acceptance speech in… Read More »

MINDFULNESS IN THE WORKPLACE – Call for participants

We are currently carrying out an online study investigating the role of mindfulness in the workplace. This is a first step of a new research project studying the potential benefits of mindfulness practice in the workplace. Initially, we want to find out whether there is a relationship between dispositional mindfulness and several psychological factors that are relevant in the workplace. If you are currently in fulltime employment, please consider completing this… Read More »