The present study assesses the effects on brain processing of a well-characterized self-referential paradigm involving the brain response to hearing self vs. other names in advanced practitioners from meditative traditions towards the ends of the two poles on the meditative spectrum. The assessed practitioners will be from the Himalayan Yoga tradition utilizing focused attention techniques (mantra) vs. those from the Vipassana meditative tradition utilizing open-monitoring attentional engagement techniques. The state and trait effects of intensive meditation practice on the brain response to hearing one’s own name vs. another’s name will be assessed and correlated with self-report measures such as the intensity of practice and the experienced transformation of self-concept. The work will be carried out at the Meditation Research Institute laboratory at the SRSG ashram in Rishikesh, India where the PI is scientific co-director.

Rael Baruch Cahn

University of California–San Diego