The aim of this talk is to provide a brief introduction to Developmental Contemplative Science (DCS), a theoretical framework that leverages insights from recent research on brain and behavioral development and examines how contemplative practices can facilitate the emergence of essential human functions such as reflection, agency, well being, and empathy. On this view, development depends largely on experience-dependent neuroplasticity (we grow our brains by using them), involves interactions among multiple levels of analysis (from genetic activity to cultural assumptions), and typically occurs in the context of scaffolded, autonomy-supportive mentorship. Research on the impact of mindfulness and reflection training in early childhood provides an example of the potential of DCS to inform our understanding of self and social awareness and how best to cultivate prosocial behavior in childhood and across the lifespan.

Phil Zelazo, PhD

University of Minnesota

Convening Faculty, PPC Member

Phil Zelazo is the Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professor at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota. His research has helped shape current understanding of executive function … MORE