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

Mind & Life Chief Scientific Advisor, Center for Healthy Minds at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Davidson is best known for his groundbreaking work studying emotion and the brain. A friend and confidante of the Dalai Lama, he is a highly sought after expert and speaker, … MORE