The goal of this study is to investigate the first-person experiences of craving –thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, etc. –and link these experiences to brain activation patterns, to gain insights into craving and how to extinguish it. This study will use a novel technology, real time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) “neurofeedback,” in which brain activation patterns are shown to an individual in real-time while they are having a brain scan. This allows the individual to notice and report how their first-person experiences relate to their brain activity, and to test whether or not they can control or change their own brain activity. Here, we are using this approach to study food cravings. Our subjects will be long-term meditators, who are experts at paying attention to and labeling their moment-to-moment experiences. Specifically, we are testing whether their first-person experiences of food cravings relate to a measure of how resources in the brain are allocated between brain networks involved in paying attention to and responding to cravings. This information should help us to better understand craving and thereby how to let go of cravings.

Kathleen Garrison, PhD

Yale University

Grantee, Reviewer

Kathleen Garrison is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Yale University. Her research interests are to better understand addiction and to improve treatments. Her research involves clinical trials of addiction treatments and … MORE