Contemplative Neuroscience
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Contemplative Neuroscience
curated research and relevant news for contemplative neuroscience, mindfulness, the self, and consciousness
Curated by Dave Vago
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Conceptualizing degrees of theory of mind

Conceptualizing degrees of theory of mind | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Successful navigation of the social world requires making accurate inferences about the contents of other people’s minds, being able to represent in one’s own mind the thoughts, beliefs, and intentions of another. This “theory of mind” (ToM) ability allows us to explain and predict others’ behavior in terms of their mental states (1). As reported in PNAS, Bio et al. (2) show that when prompted to adopt the visual perspective of a cartoon agent participants demonstrated the same spatial bias as when processing objects from their own perspective. Interestingly, this effect occurred only when the cartoon agent held a false belief about the location of an object, due to its having moved while the agent’s view was blocked by a barrier. When the agent held a true belief about the location of the object, either because he had witnessed it move or it never moved from its original location after the barrier appeared, participants’ own spatial bias had no effect on perspective taking (see Fig. 1 A for a description of the experimental paradigm). Bio et al. (2) conclude that when representing others’ true beliefs, compared with their false beliefs, social cognition may be engaged to a lesser extent or not at all. This study is important because it may provide an answer to one of the most challenging questions in current ToM research: What is it to represent mental states to a greater or lesser degree?



Fig. 1.
A social “false-belief” condition ( A ) in the task by Bio et al. (2) and an analogous nonsocial “false-photo” condition ( B ). Two agents view ( A ) and two video cameras record ( B ) a scene in which a ball appears in one of two boxes. An occluder then appears between one of the agents/cameras and the ball, before it moves to the other box. Participants are asked …



[↵][1]1To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: geoff.bird{at}psy.ox.ac.uk.

[1]: #xref-corresp-1-1
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Networks of Brain Activity Predict Vulnerability to Depression

Networks of Brain Activity Predict Vulnerability to Depression | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
A new mouse study discovers different networks of brain activity in animals more susceptible to developing depression following a stressful event.
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Tantric Obsession | Rubin Museum of Art

Tantric Obsession | Rubin Museum of Art | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
The Rubin Museum of Art is a dynamic environment that stimulates learning, promotes understanding, and inspires personal connections to the ideas, cultures, and art of Himalayan Asia.
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Journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney was struck by how Thorson’s death echoed other incidents that reflected the little-talked-about connection between intensive meditation and mental instability. He explores the neural implications of obsession with cognitive neuroscientist David Vago.
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Taking deep breaths could be key to reducing stress

Taking deep breaths could be key to reducing stress | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Not dealing with stress properly can create serious health problems.
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ABC news interviews David Vago on the benefits of yoga and meditation for stress
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Self-Transformation Through Mindfulness | Dr. David Vago | TEDxNashville

How is the Self represented in the brain and how is it sculpted through our everyday moment-to-moment perceptions, emotions, and thoughts? Cognitiv
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How is the Self represented in the brain and how is it sculpted through our everyday moment-to-moment perceptions, emotions, and thoughts? Cognitive Neuroscientist, David Vago demonstrates that a systematic form of mental training involving meditation and mindful awareness has the potential to transform our self and our mental habits in a positive way. Learn more about how every moment is an opportunity to change our brain and strongly influence our health & longevity at both conscious and non-conscious levels.
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The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on brain activity: A systematic review of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies - ScienceDirect

The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on brain activity: A systematic review of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies - ScienceDirect | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
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Major Medical School Announces First Dedicated Mindfulness Division

Major Medical School Announces First Dedicated Mindfulness Division | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
The Division of Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School aims to introduce mindfulness into medical care.
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Magic Mushrooms May 'Reset' Brains of Depressed Patients

Magic Mushrooms May 'Reset' Brains of Depressed Patients | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
A new study adds to growing evidence supporting the benefits of psychedelics to treat mental illnesses. Researchers report psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, is effective in reducing symptoms for people with treatment resistant depression. The study reveals the compound resets the activity of a brain network associated with depression, helping to improve symptoms in patients for up to 5 weeks following treatment.
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Reiterated Concerns and Further Challenges for Mindfulness and Meditation Research: A Reply to Davidson and Dahl. - PubMed - NCBI

Reiterated Concerns and Further Challenges for Mindfulness and Meditation Research: A Reply to Davidson and Dahl. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Perspect Psychol Sci. 2017 Sep 1:1745691617727529. doi: 10.1177/1745691617727529. [Epub ahead of print]
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Modulating Affective Experience and Emotional Intelligence with Loving Kindness Meditation and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A Pilot Study. - PubMed - NCBI

Modulating Affective Experience and Emotional Intelligence with Loving Kindness Meditation and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A Pilot Study. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Soc Neurosci. 2017 Oct 25. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2017.1397054. [Epub ahead of print]
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Dynamic coupling between slow waves and sleep spindles during slow wave sleep in humans is modulated by functional pre-sleep activation

Dynamic coupling between slow waves and sleep spindles during slow wave sleep in humans is modulated by functional pre-sleep activation | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
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Quiet the Mind: Mindfulness, Meditation, and the Search for Inner Peace. - PubMed - NCBI

Quiet the Mind: Mindfulness, Meditation, and the Search for Inner Peace. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Am J Crit Care. 2017 Nov;26(6):433-436. doi: 10.4037/ajcc2017914. Editorial
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Consciousness Regained: Disentangling Mechanisms, Brain Systems, and Behavioral Responses

Consciousness Regained: Disentangling Mechanisms, Brain Systems, and Behavioral Responses | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
How consciousness (experience) arises from and relates to material brain processes (the “mind-body problem”) has been pondered by thinkers for centuries, and is regarded as among the deepest unsolved problems in science, with wide-ranging theoretical, clinical, and ethical implications. Until the last few decades, this was largely seen as a philosophical topic, but not widely accepted in mainstream neuroscience. Since the 1980s, however, novel methods and theoretical advances have yielded remarkable results, opening up the field for scientific and clinical progress. Since a seminal paper by [Crick and Koch (1998][1]) claimed that a science of consciousness should first search for its neural correlates (NCC), a variety of correlates have been suggested, including both content-specific NCCs, determining particular phenomenal components within an experience, and the full NCC, the neural substrates supporting entire conscious experiences. In this review, we present recent progress on theoretical, experimental, and clinical issues. Specifically, we (1) review methodological advances that are important for dissociating conscious experience from related enabling and executive functions, (2) suggest how critically reconsidering the role of the frontal cortex may further delineate NCCs, (3) advocate the need for general, objective, brain-based measures of the capacity for consciousness that are independent of sensory processing and executive functions, and (4) show how animal studies can reveal population and network phenomena of relevance for understanding mechanisms of consciousness.

[1]: #ref-24
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What defines mindfulness-based programs? The warp and the weft | Psychological Medicine

What defines mindfulness-based programs? The warp and the weft - Volume 47 Issue 6 - R. S. Crane, J. Brewer, C. Feldman, J. Kabat-Zinn, S. Santorelli, J. M. G. Williams, W. Kuyken
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What defines a mindfulness-based intervention
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How yoga helps reduce stress - The Boston Globe

How yoga helps reduce stress - The Boston Globe | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Every time snow fell over the past three weeks, stress rose. The prospect of having to shovel yet again triggered a heart-quickening, fight-or-flight response for most — useful perhaps when faced with a tiger but less so when trapped inside a three-bedroom Cape, surrounded by 7-foot drifts. snow
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Why Yoga works to relieve stress
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Redesign my brain - Season 2 (clip on mindfulness)

Dr. David Vago and Dr. Fadel Zeidan talk with host Todd Sampson on the benefits of meditation in the context of Pain and Stress
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Dr. David Vago and Dr. Fadel Zeidan talk with host Todd Sampson on the benefits of meditation in the context of Pain and Stress
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2016 Longwood Seminars Video Archive | HMS

2016 Longwood Seminars Video Archive | HMS | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
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Harvard scientists were some of the first to uncover the impact of meditation on health. Their finding: mindfulness can change your brain in positive ways. At this seminar, a panel of Harvard Medical School faculty will discuss the neuroscience of meditation and mindfulness.
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10% Happier

10% Happier | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Dave Vago's insight:
Join us at Vanderbilt University’s neuroscience lab to learn what those mental bicep curls are doing for your brain - and practice with a top contemplative neuroscientist along the way. This course is part of a cross-country 10% Happier Meditation Tour with Dan & meditation teacher Jeff Warren. Stay tuned for more from the Tour!
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The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on brain activity: A systematic review of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. - PubMed - NCBI

The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on brain activity: A systematic review of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2018 Jan;84:424-433. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.08.003. Epub 2017 Aug 7. Review
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Star Neuroscientist Tom Insel Leaves the Google-Spawned Verily for ... a Startup?

Star Neuroscientist Tom Insel Leaves the Google-Spawned Verily for ... a Startup? | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
What could be going on at Verily that would lead the former head of the National Institutes of Mental Health to bail on Google-sized money and data?
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Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation. - PubMed - NCBI

Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Perspect Psychol Sci. 2017 Sep 1:1745691617709589. doi: 10.1177/1745691617709589. [Epub ahead of print]
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Outstanding Challenges in Scientific Research on Mindfulness and Meditation. - PubMed - NCBI

Outstanding Challenges in Scientific Research on Mindfulness and Meditation. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Perspect Psychol Sci. 2017 Sep 1:1745691617718358. doi: 10.1177/1745691617718358. [Epub ahead of print]
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The Mindful Self: A Mindfulness-Enlightened Self-view. - PubMed - NCBI

The Mindful Self: A Mindfulness-Enlightened Self-view. - PubMed - NCBI | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Front Psychol. 2017 Oct 13;8:1752. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01752. eCollection 2017.
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In human non-REM sleep, more slow-wave activity leads to less blood flow in the prefrontal cortex

In human non-REM sleep, more slow-wave activity leads to less blood flow in the prefrontal cortex | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
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The levels of perceptual processing and the neural correlates of increasing subjective visibility - ScienceDirect

The levels of perceptual processing and the neural correlates of increasing subjective visibility - ScienceDirect | Contemplative Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Publication date: October 2017
Source:Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 55
Author(s): Marek Binder, Krzysztof Gociewicz, Bert Windey, Marcin Koculak, Karolina Finc, Jan Nikadon, Monika Derda, Axel Cleeremans
According to the levels-of-processing hypothesis, transitions from unconscious to conscious perception may depend on stimulus processing level, with more gradual changes for low-level stimuli and more dichotomous changes for high-level stimuli. In an event-related fMRI study we explored this hypothesis using a visual backward masking procedure. Task requirements manipulated level of processing. Participants reported the magnitude of the target digit in the high-level task, its color in the low-level task, and rated subjective visibility of stimuli using the Perceptual Awareness Scale. Intermediate stimulus visibility was reported more frequently in the low-level task, confirming prior behavioral results. Visible targets recruited insulo-fronto-parietal regions in both tasks. Task effects were observed in visual areas, with higher activity in the low-level task across all visibility levels. Thus, the influence of level of processing on conscious perception may be mediated by attentional modulation of activity in regions representing features of consciously experienced stimuli.
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