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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Jennifer S. Mascaro, Department of Anthropology, Emory University, 207 Anthropology Building, 1557 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA e-mail: jmascar@emory.edu

Dr. Charles L. Raison serves on the advisory board for Pamlab and Otsuka-Lundbeck and is a speaker for Pamlab and Sunovion.

Subjects:

Keywords:

  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology, Multidisciplinary
  • Psychology
  • empathy
  • compassion
  • meditation
  • compassion meditation
  • loving-kindness meditation
  • oxytocin
  • simulation
  • mentalizing
  • VENTROMEDIAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • COMPASSION FOCUSED THERAPY
  • LOVING-KINDNESS
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR
  • POSITIVE EMOTIONS
  • MATERNAL-BEHAVIOR
  • SOCIAL EXCLUSION
  • HUMAN FATHERS

The neural mediators of kindness-based meditation: a theoretical model

Tools:

Journal Title:

Frontiers in Psychology

Volume:

Volume 6, Number FEB

Publisher:

, Pages 109-109

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF

Abstract:

Although kindness-based contemplative practices are increasingly employed by clinicians and cognitive researchers to enhance prosocial emotions, social cognitive skills, and well-being, and as a tool to understand the basic workings of the social mind, we lack a coherent theoretical model with which to test the mechanisms by which kindness-based meditation may alter the brain and body. Here, we link contemplative accounts of compassion and loving-kindness practices with research from social cognitive neuroscience and social psychology to generate predictions about how diverse practices may alter brain structure and function and related aspects of social cognition. Contingent on the nuances of the practice, kindness-based meditation may enhance the neural systems related to faster and more basic perceptual or motor simulation processes, simulation of another's affective body state, slower and higher-level perspective-taking, modulatory processes such as emotion regulation and self/other discrimination, and combinations thereof. This theoretical model will be discussed alongside best practices for testing such a model and potential implications and applications of future work.

Copyright information:

© 2015 Mascaro, Darcher, Negi and Raison.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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