Mindfulness is suggested to contribute to emotion regulation by enhancing a person’s mind-body-environment connection. Mindfulness has also been suggested to enhance awareness of distinct embodied states’ reward values – eg. people typically prefer joy over fear – and promote autonomous shifting towards more rewarding states, naturally contributing to emotion regulation. Our aim is to develop a terminology identifying distinct embodied states and determine their underlying reward value and neurocircuitry. We distinguished between ‘open’ states, i.e. mentally/somatically experienced with the quality of expansion, and ‘closed’ states, i.e. experienced with the bodily and mental quality of constriction. Using functional brain imaging, 40 subjects will be presented words evoking either open (curiosity, awe, wonder) or closed (disconnection, fear, rejection) states and asked to focus on the induced body and mental present-moment experience, followed by ratings on an open / closed continuum and reward value. We expect 1) open states to be experienced as more rewarding than closed states 2) open and closed states to induce brain network activity involved in mindfulness meditation due to the parallels with mindfulness’ openness/curious qualities vs closed qualities of ‘getting caught up in thought’ 3) open states to induce greater activations in reward brain circuits than closed states.

Véronique Taylor, PhD

Brown University


My main research interests and current endeavours are focused on the neuropsychophysiological mechanisms through which mind-body interventions such as mindfulness impact behavior related to maladaptive emotion regulation. My research background … MORE