Mindfulness is increasingly being researched by a variety of research institutions. The following are a few of the leading neuroscience labs measuring the effects of mindfulness on the brain.
Britton Lab: Willoughby Britton, Director
Researches the effects of contemplative practices on affective disturbances, including their cognitive, emotional, and physiological aspects. Research has included studying the effects of mindfulness meditation training on attention and emotional regulation in children, as well as the physiological and neurological effects of using MBCT to treat depression in adults.
Center for Investigating Healthy Minds: Richard J. Davidson, Founder
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Uses contemplative neuroscience – combining research with contemplative traditions – to research interventions and methods for health and wellbeing. Research on mindfulness uses neurobiological and behavioural approaches to investigate the mechanisms by which mindfulness works; research areas include the effects of mindfulness on emotional reactivity and regulation, attention and pain regulation, and sleep.
Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory: James J. Gross, Director
Uses a neurobiological and behavioural approach to cognitive-affective disorders in children and adults. Research has included studying child-parent MBSR and the effects of mindfulness-treatment programs on adults with social anxiety disorder and compassion cultivation.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience: Adele Diamond, Director
University of British Columbia
Interested in the early development of executive functions using behavioural, neuroanatomical, and neurochemical approaches. Research in mindfulness includes its effects on improving executive functions in children as well as its influence on academic and mental health.
Meditation Research from the Lab of Sara Lazar
Harvard Medical School
Neuroimaging techniques are used to study neurological, cognitive, and emotional changes associated with the practice of meditation and yoga. Provided the first structural evidence for experience-dependent cortical plasticity associated with meditation practice (Lazar et al., 2005).
Mind-in-Body Lab: Catherine Kerr, Director
Uses neuroimaging and behavioural approaches to investigate neural processes underlying mind-body therapies, including mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). The focus is on understanding the neural processes underlying mind-body therapies in order to optimize their therapeutic benefit.
The Jha Lab: Exploring the Stability and Mutability of Attention and Working Memory
University of Miami
Behavioural methods, event-related potentials, and functional MRI are used to investigate attention and working memory. Interested in how training – including mindfulness-based training techniques – may modify core selection processes. Projects include the effects of mindfulness on ADHD, on working memory in older adults, and on teachers.