Meng-Wu Lecture: Richard Davidson, PhD on 'The Emergence of Contemplative Neuroscience'

This talk will present an overview of the convergence of scientific and extra-scientific factors that have permitted the emergence of a new hybrid discipline—contemplative neuroscience.  Included among these factors are developments in our understanding of neuroplasticity and epigenetics, the development of modern methods for interrogating human brain function, the publications of basic research on meditation in top-tier mainstream scientific journals, the active involvement of the Dalai Lama and the Mind & Life Institute in the promotion of this work, and the presence of several high profile research centers focused on this work at major research universities in the U.S. and abroad.  The talk will summarize some of the key findings that have emerged and will showcase future challenges, both methodological and conceptual, that must be faced as this work matures. 

Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, and Founder and Chair and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984. 

His research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices.  His research uses a wide range of methods including different varieties of MRI, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography and modern genetic and epigenetic methods.  He has published more than 290 articles, many chapters and reviews and edited 14 books. He has been a member of the Mind and Life Institute’s Board of Directors since 1991. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of "The Emotional Life of Your Brain" published by Penguin in 2012.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research including a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award, a MERIT Award from NIMH, an Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD), a Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD, the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society, and the Hilldale Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He was the Founding Co-Editor of the new American Psychological Association journal EMOTION and is Past-President of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. He was the year 2000 recipient of the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association –the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. 

He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006.  In 2006 he was also awarded the first Mani Bhaumik Award by UCLA for advancing the understanding of the brain and conscious mind in healing. Madison Magazine named him Person of the Year in 2007. In 2008, he founded the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, a research center dedicated to the study of positive qualities, such as kindness and compassion. In 2011, he was given the Paul D. MacLean Award for Outstanding Neuroscience Research in Psychosomatic Medicine. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig from 2011-2017 and as Chair of the Psychology section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 2011-2013.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012. 6:30 PM.
Approximate duration of 1.50 hour(s).
Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305 (Map)
General Public
Lecture / Reading
Health / Wellness
Public Service
Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
(650) 721-6142

Free. Requires registration for guaranteed seating before 6:15PM. Register here

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