The ability of the brain to change through experience, a capacity known as neuroplasticity, allows for exciting possibilities of human development and transformation. This session explored the implications of neuroplasticity in the areas of mental training, attention, emotion regulation and compassion. Richard Davidson provided a broad overview of the impact of mental training in altering brain circuitry and behavior relevant to attention and emotion regulation. The effects of mindfulness and loving-kindness/compassion practices on cortical and limbic functions will be described, as well as new findings on alterations of brain circuitry during sleep and epigenetics. Tania Singer introduced a model developed for a one-year compassion intervention program that consists of training in attention, interoceptive awareness, perspective taking and meta-cognition, loving-kindness, prosocial motivation and acceptance of difficult emotions. She then provided empirical evidence for affective brain plasticity after a one-week training of empathy as compared to compassion and loving-kindness. Overall, research in contemplative neuroscience suggests that mental training produces highly specific and enduring effects on brain function and behavior. What are the limits of neuroplasticity, and what does this mean for human potential?
- Dialogue 2627 sessions
- January 19, 2013Drepung Monastery, Mundgod, India