We are working to increase diversity within neuroscience of meditation studies to reflect the increasingly diverse population of the United States and to improve representation of minorities. We are using community engagement and dialogue with the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) in Oakland, CA, one of the most diverse meditation communities in the U.S. EBMC is a meditation community that was created for minority populations to support social action, multiculturalism, and safe social spaces to address effects of oppression. By actively engaging with EBMC and integrating their feedback, we are updating our neuroscience study to be culturally sensitive for people of color, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and the fat community. This includes changing the materials and language used within the study, and holding a community event at EBMC to share information about the study. We are also using new approaches to analyze brain information, where we apply pattern recognition technology to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. This allows us to identify mental states during meditation using an individual’s own brain activity. We hope these new approaches will increase the diversity of meditators studied within neuroscience, and use methods to better capture diversity of mental states within a person as well as across people.
University of California, San Francisco
Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, Reviewer
Helen Y. Weng, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, and her research focuses on the neural mechanisms of how meditation practices may improve social behavior and mental health. Her … MORE