April 27, 2008 10:12 AM   Subscribe

"Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation" (PDF). A recent article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences on the neuroscience of meditation, focusing on how meditation alters and sharpens the brain's attention systems. The research is being done at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior (previously), who have also recently published research on the "Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation" (PDF), which describes how meditation can cultivate compassion by physically affecting brain regions that play a role in empathy. They shared this research with the Dalai Lama at the recent Seeds of Compassion forum.
posted by homunculus (13 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, no research seems to have yet been done on the benefits of wearing a hat while meditating.
posted by homunculus at 10:15 AM on April 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

Thanks for this. Also, I lol'd at the post title.
posted by Floach at 10:17 AM on April 27, 2008

see also this book
posted by ornate insect at 12:00 PM on April 27, 2008

I've seen a lot of neuroscience (and of course quasi-neuroscience) about meditation's benefits, but this is a new one, and an important one in terms of the purposes of Buddhist meditation in particular. (And, yes, nice pun tittle.)
posted by kozad at 1:07 PM on April 27, 2008

It looks like they're going about this pretty cluefully. I like the emphasis on distinguishing different kinds of meditation practice, and on treating meditation as more than just a fancy kind of relaxation.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:37 PM on April 27, 2008

Good post. Great pun.
posted by Hobgoblin at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2008

Breath by Breath
posted by homunculus at 3:01 PM on April 27, 2008


Read Dr. Davidson's work. It is awesome. I tried to work with this guy and he has a HUGE laboratory.

Richard is the last author on those papers. I am not surprised .
posted by kldickson at 3:49 PM on April 27, 2008

I've been listening to Andrea Fella podcasts on metta this past week, and had been hoping to use this pun myself.

Ah, well. Duhkha happens.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:09 PM on April 27, 2008

Meditation is incredible stuff. In a few minutes I can lower my pulse by 25% (and my resting pulse is somewhere south of 60 bpm), lower my blood pressure, and enter a state of relaxation that seems indescribable. I am not sure what benefits it has after the session is complete, but it is powerful stuff, and I am but a rookie. I have been doing it for decades but not really in such a way to gain more competence at the art. For me it is more of a trick on the body to gain a little composure when stress is taking its toll. I vacillate between being very high strung and very laid back (as you might be able to tell from some of my comments on MeFi) and the meditation if done regularly does help keep me more laid back, which really is my natural state. I have never taken classes or worked with a Yogi or anything. Perhaps that has limited me, but mostly it is lack of adherence. It is now something like once a month for ten minutes or so when I do it. MeFi is my current meditation. Anyway, I do not doubt these studies on how it enhances focus. I have seen it, but I think it comes from relieving the distraction of a high stress level. I have seen hints of what my be a higher level of consciousness in some extended meditation so perhaps it also helps you to make some connections in the brain that carry over to help in cognition outside of meditation. Ten minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.
posted by caddis at 6:03 PM on April 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

hahahahahaha. Awesome title. Great post.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:11 PM on April 27, 2008

I've been practicing NSR meditation, an independent version of TM, for a year and a half, and the effects have been astonishing. I highly recommend it.
posted by muckster at 8:02 AM on April 28, 2008

A Superhighway to Bliss

Taylor's stroke was previsouly discussed here.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on May 25, 2008

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