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Category: peer-reviewed journal articles

Cognitive, Affective, & Contemplative Neuroscience Research

Can Enlightenment be traced to specific correlates of the Brain, Cognition, or Behavior?

The term “Enlightenment” is quite a big word with a lot of semantic baggage. It’s really an imprecise construct for the field of contemplative neuroscience. Friend and colleague, Jake Davis, a Buddhist scholar and I comment in a recent issue of Frontiers in Consciousness about the forseeable future of unpacking the concept into clearly observable…
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Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, & Self-Transcendence (S-ART): A Framework for Understanding the Neurobiological Mechanisms of Mindfulness

Hi all, I wanted to take this space-time to introduce you to an integrative systems-based neurobiological model and theoretical framework for understanding the mechanisms by which mindfulness functions to reduce attention-specific and affective biases related to self processing and creates a sustainable healthy mind. The model attempts to integrate findings from the extant empirical literature…
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Why Mindfulness can help the Immune System

Stress is immunosuppressive. Research into this pernicious relationship between stress and disease has piqued interest in the ways that contemplative practices might positively influence the immune system. According to a large body of evidence, meditation appears to have profound effects on immune function in health and disease because of its ability to reduce stress. Why…
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The Wandering Mind vs. Mindfulness

Neuroimaging Research has grappled with the concept of a “resting brain”. Researchers interested in Consciousness have grappled with localizing subjective states of awareness and the elusive “self”. It seems that contemplative science is bringing both concepts to the table given the profound interest in tracing neurophenomenological states associated with “the self” and intentional, meditative practices.…
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Some Statistics RE: explosion of research in Contemplative Sciences

Hi all, Through my work with the Mind and Life Institute, I kept some statistics on the number and types of grants that were being awarded in the area of contemplative science. I also kept track of publication records. Here are some of those statistics (through 2010) to give you a sense of where this…
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More about Pain and Meditation

Can meditation practice eliminate pain? NO, but it can it reduce the emotional intensity in which it is anticipated and experienced! There have been a few studies up to today (jan. 4, 2012) that have investigated the effects of specific meditative practices that involve the state of mindfulness on the experience of pain. Some studies…
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Neural targets for Depression – a Neurocircuitry Model

Hi all, Over 3 decades of neuroimaging research has begun to reveal a distinct neurocircuitry model for depression and psychopathology that involves Cortical-Striatal-Pallido-Insular-Thalamic-Temporal connectivity and dynamic activity. Check out the link below for a recent publication that proposes this model based on decades of research from the area of neuropsychiatry. [NCNA_vago_etal_2011_finalproof]

The use of Mindfulness training for acute and chronic pain

There have been a number of studies investigating the effects of mindfulness and other forms of meditation training on the experience of pain, acutely or in chronic states. Below are just a few examples from 2009-2010 1. Brown, C. A. & Jones, A. K. P. (2010). Meditation experience predicts less negative appraisal of pain: Electrophysiological…
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Evidence-based Mindfulness Interventions

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Kabat-Zinn, J. (1982). An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results. General Hospital Psychiatry, 4(1), 33-47. Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L., & Burney, R. (1985). The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. Journal…
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Short term “integrative body-mind training” (IBMT) improves self- and autonomic regulation

A group from Univ. of Oregon in collaboration with the Institute of Neuroinformatics and Laboratory for Body and Mind, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China has found more evidence (see 2007, 2009 and 2010 articles) that short-term meditation in the form of IBMT can improve self-regulation and components of attention. What is IBMT? According to…
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