Research into the physiological effects of meditation comprises a significant domain within neuroimaging studies. While such research studies contemplatives and their practices, the practitioners themselves have yet to be fully integrated into the research process. Appropriately, a key issue at the 2013 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute was the need to integrate contemplatives and religious scholars in the laboratory contexts of neuroimaging research. However, it remains unclear exactly how contemplatives will be integrated into the research process and how their effect—and effectiveness—will be assessed. This research aims at an ethnographic analysis of the Laboratory for the Investigation of Healthy Minds in Madison, WI. As an anthropologist, I explore the integration of monastics and contemplatives as it unfolds in the day to day work of the Lab. I seek a rich, context specific description of the promises and the obstacles which accompany the goal of integration. This research is part of a larger project which explores the Monastic Science Initiative and its impact on monastic life in India.

Dylan Lott

University of Illinois at Chicago

A doctoral candidate (Anthropology-University of Illinois at Chicago), Dylan Lott’s research examines the implementation and impact of the Monastic Science Initiative. Building on undergraduate work in Psychology, he teaches courses … MORE