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SBE 2020: Submission Detail

ID Number: 204
Title: Neuroplasticity, Meditation Training, and The New Mind
Lead Author: Sahdra, Baljinder K
Abstract: There is growing consensus in cognitive neuroscience and psychology that the brain and mind are plastic, but the limits of neuroplasticity are unknown. It is time for a new mind-brain science supported by rigorous inter-disciplinary empirical investigation to determine how training the mind changes the brain. The growing field of meditation research has yielded promising findings, but several questions remain concerning the underlying processes and the limits of observed benefits of meditation training. To address those issues, we propose a paradigm shift from an almost exclusive use of third-person assessments (by outside observers using physical measures) to a more synergistic approach integrating first- and third-person assessments of meditation training in experimental contexts. The challenge is to document, rigorously and systematically, what people actually do during meditation, given the instructions they receive, and then relate first-person assessments to previously validated objective measures. We explain why this challenge question is important while framing the longstanding issues of meditation research in a more scientifically tractable manner. The synergistic approach we advocate here will benefit both basic and applied science by illuminating the mechanisms of mind-brain plasticity and guiding development of practical tools for use in clinical and secular educational, workplace, and community contexts.
PDF: Sahdra_Baljinder_204.pdf

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