This presentation will highlight what we know about the neuroscience of fear and anxiety and discuss its antidotes in compassion and related qualities. Distinctions will be made between fear as a state and trait. The impact of different forms of contemplative practice on the neuroscientific bases of fear and anxiety will be highlighted. Particular attention will be paid to the temporal dynamics of emotional responding. New findings will be presented that suggest greater impact of mindfulness-type practices on the recovery from fearful stimuli rather than reactivity. Finally, the implications of this perspective and findings from this literature on how contemplative practices can be used preventatively will be highlighted.

Richard J. Davidson, PhD

William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founder and Chief Visionary for Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc.

Richard Davidson received his PhD from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984.  He has published more than 573 articles, numerous chapters and reviews, and edited … MORE