The goals of the research grant were to examine the effects of mindfulness meditation training on pain and fear learning processes, in order to validate the efficacy of this practice in disorders involving fear of threatening stimuli (eg. anxiety, chronic pain). The effects long-term meditation training on fear learning and pain were assessed in highly experienced mindfulness meditators (>1000 hrs of practice) compared to healthy controls. The results of this study are promising: first, healthy controls high in trait mindfulness showed a reduced impact of fear on pain responses. Second, experienced meditators reported decreased pain intensity relative to controls and showed reduced impact of fear on pain. Interestingly, meditators did not show any differential physiological fear or defensive pain responses compared to controls. These results show that long-term meditation experience can reduce a vicious cycle between fear and pain by attenuating pain and the impact of fear on pain, while maintaining basic physiological learning and defense responses to threat. The last study supported by this grant will examine the effects of mindfulness meditation on fear learning and pain using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Véronique Taylor, PhD
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