Neurogenetic mechanisms of self-transcendence and purpose in life

Purpose in life refers to having a sense of goals, values and directions in life. Individuals whose life’s purpose is to benefit others beyond self-interests are thought to have self-transcendent purpose. Self-transcendent purpose is a trait as well as trainable skill: Some people are genetically predisposed to a tendency for compassion and prosociality, but others …

Neurobehavioral effects of prenatal mindfulness training on maternal presence and compassionate love

A large body of research has shown that mindfulness training can improve individual well-being. However, effects on the prosocial qualities expressed in real-life interpersonal relationships are mixed, and the biobehavioral mechanisms underlying such potential effects remain largely unknown. We propose to address this gap by studying how prenatal mindfulness training tailored to focus on family …

Combining immersive virtual environments and contemplative techniques to increase empathy and decrease anger in intergroup conflicts

Intergroup conflicts serve as the primary cause of wars and violence around the world. Such conflicts are often triggered and maintained by intense antisocial emotions (e.g., anger), and can potentially be attenuated by prosocial emotions (e.g., empathy). Discovering effective approaches to decrease anger and increase empathy, therefore, is of critical importance. Several contemplative techniques involve …

Testing a compassionate community actively living mindfulness (CCALM) intervention: elucidating individual and dyadic pathways to PEACE character virtues

The project will examine how Prosociality, Empathy, Altruism, Compassion, and Ethics (PEACE) character virtues may change with transitions to assisted living arrangements among older adults and their romantic partners. The project will employ a novel contemplative practices intervention program we developed called Compassionate Community Actively Living Mindfulness (CCALM) into the healthcare system. We will strategically …

Sustainable Compassion Training’s effects on neural threat and social support

Social support is empirically linked to health and well-being, but the mechanisms of this link remain speculative along with target interventions that maximize social support during stressful times. Knowledge of these mechanisms and interventions is needed for a full understanding of the receipt and provision of care, particularly among those working in high stress environments …

CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training) at the hospital bedside

Although hospital chaplains play a critical role in delivering emotional and spiritual care to a broad range of both religious and non-religious patients, there is remarkably little research on the best-practices of chaplaincy training or “active ingredients” of chaplain spiritual consults. CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training) is a secularized compassion meditation program that improves empathic accuracy …