2014 Visiting Scholar Recipients

Andrew Bresnen
Research Imaging Institute of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio

Researched pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) and explored the scientific basis for the clinical application of trained breathing exercises as a therapy for neurological diseases.

Morgan Derby
Lesley University

Researched the theoretical and practical implications of a novel distinction between curricular mindfulness in education (MIE) and pedagogical mindfulness- based education (MBE).

Nathan Fisher
Brown University

Developed drafts of two articles to be submitted to peer-reviewed journals: one on pilot data from The Varieties of Contemplative Experience project at Brown University, the second on data from a sociological study at Indiana University investigating the diffusion of contemplative practices into the workplace and corporate cultures.

Oren Ergas
Hebrew University, Israel

Developed a book manuscript that re-conceptualizes educational theory and practice through a contemplative approach. Following William James and contemplative scholars, it derives a practical educational typology that brings “self” to the foreground, based on attention as the scaffold of education.

Peter Grossenbacher
Naropa University

Integrated available findings on brain functioning during meditation to innovate new constructs suited for describing meditative configurations of dynamic neurocognitive processes. Identified neurobiological patterns conducive to successful meditation, then devised and piloted new techniques geared for effectively eliciting those patterns of brain activity in consultation with neuroscientists and meditation teachers in order to provide practitioners with efficient training.

Matt Jankauskas
Brown University

Continued a literature review on the experience of de-repression — the re-experiencing of traumatic memories and strong negative emotions within contemplative practice — from the perspectives of Christian contemplative traditions and modern psychology. Wrote an outline for an article intended for eventual publication in a peer-reviewed journal for the Varieties of Contemplative Experience project, and also coded interviews (n=20) with Christian contemplative teachers using the Varieties project codebook.

Chris Kaplan
Brown University

Developed a book project that examines the radical individual, communal, and global consequences of convergences between the recent (20th-century) worldwide spread of contemplative practices, the emergence onto the global stage of internationally coordinated grassroots democratic movements, and the burgeoning growth of the fields of contemplative science and studies.

Kasley Killam
Queen’s University, Canada

Rigorously developed and then launched Compassion in Motion, a public outreach campaign aimed at both disseminating techniques for human flourishing in a fun, engaging, and memorable way, and conducting non-laboratory research on an international scale through touch screen, web, and mobile technologies.

Golnoosh Mahdavi
Brown University

Analyzed different types of trauma (early vs. adult) in depressed/nondepressed populations, and in particular, the assessment of trauma as an effect modifier for treatment. Explored possible biomarkers of trauma that may predict treatment response and attrition rates within clinical treatment trials for depression, which could lead to a better understanding of the physiological and neurological markers of trauma in future clinical treatment trials, as well as a more coherent “map” of the effects of contemplative practice on such adverse experiences and behaviors.

Andrea Poile
Harvard University

Investigated the ways in which self-compassion supports the development of “growth mindset” characteristics (e.g., mindfulness, resilience, intrinsic motivation, etc.) in K–12 classrooms through researching the neuroscience of self-compassion, and particularly the role of the default mode network.

Alora Rando
Brown University

Investigated the relationship between autonomic regulation, disorders of negative affect, and meditation. Assessed the effect of different mindfulness meditation practices on the regulation of the autonomic nervous system of individuals with depression and anxiety.

Emiliana Rodriguez
Harvard University/AtentaMente, Mexico

Analyzed the particular needs and mechanisms of the educational system in Mexico to develop strategies and communicate effectively the necessity, validity, and potential of conducting scientific research on contemplative practices in education in Latin America.

Poppy Schoenberg
King’s College, London

Produced two interconnected manuscripts: 1) examining electro-cortical (EEG/ERP) dynamics of perceptual (dis)organization alongside self-less/full experiences in healthy populations undergoing intensive mindfulness training; and 2) re-interpreting the aforementioned empirical findings from a phenomenological perspective within the wider conception of compassion.

Terje Sparby
University of Heidelberg, Germany

Developed a research proposal dealing with fundamental ontological, epistemological, and methodical issues concerning the interconnection of philosophy and meditative research, while also completing work on an additional article focused around the following question: How can the de-emphasis of self-centered consciousness lead to deeper insights into the nature of consciousness, the self, and objects in the world? Wrote a new article that centers on the issue of how deep, meditative insight can be communicable and have an impact on the discursive mind.