In light of a growing interest in contemplative practices such as meditation, the emerging field of contemplative science has been challenged to describe and objectively measure how these practices affect health and well-being. We recently proposed that equanimity could serve as a measurable outcome of contemplative practices, both in basic science investigations and in clinical applications. Equanimity can be defined as an even-minded mental state or dispositional tendency toward all experiences or objects, regardless of their origin or affective valence (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral). In this panel, we will define equanimity from the perspectives of both classical Buddhism and modern psychology, and present recent psychological, physiological, and neuroimaging data that have been used to assess equanimity, either directly or indirectly. In conclusion, we propose that equanimity captures potentially the most important psychological element in the improvement of well-being through contemplative practice, and therefore should be a focus in future research.

Gaelle Desbordes, PhD

Independent Researcher

Fellow, Grantee, Planning Committee Member, Reviewer

Gaelle is a Mind & Life Fellow with years of previous experience conducting research in contemplative neuroscience. After receiving a Masters degree in computer science and a PhD in cognitive … MORE

Dusana Dorjee, PhD

Bangor University

Grantee, Reviewer


Elizabeth A. Hoge, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital



Catherine Kerr, PhD

Brown University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee

Catherine Kerr, PhD was director of translational neuroscience at the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University. Her neuroscience research focused on neural dynamics underlying embodied attention and the sense of … MORE

Sara Lazar, PhD

Harvard University



Andrew Olendzki, D.Phil.

Integrated Dharma Institute



David Vago, PhD

Vanderbilt University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, Planning Committee Member, Reviewer

Dr. David Vago is Research Associate Professor and Director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Mind-Body (CNMB) Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. He is core training … MORE