The science | Serenityworks

For your reference…

Scientific research continues to confirm the beneficial effect meditation has on our brains—whether or not we are stressed. If you're in any doubt, herewith a selection of Quick Links, and below them a list of Scientific Studies you may find interesting and encouraging.

Quick links:

Also, our page Meditation changes brain in eight weeks

The studies:

This is a non exhaustive list of research supporting the benefits, and explaining the mechanisms of meditative practices from a neurological and human development standpoint:

  • Baerentsen, K. B., Stodkilde-Jorgensen, H., Sommerlund, B., Hartmann, T., Damsgaard-Madsen, J., Fosnaes, M., and Green, A. C. (2010). An investigation of brain processes supporting meditation. Cogn. Process 11, 57–84.
  • Brown, D., Forte, M., and Dysart, M. (1984a). Differences in visual sensitivity among mindfulness meditators and non-meditators. Percept. Mot. Skills 58, 727–733.
  • Brown, D., Forte, M., and Dysart, M. (1984b). Visual sensitivity and mindfulness meditation. Percept. Mot. Skills 58, 775–784.
  • Davidson, Richard J.; Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF. (July–August 2003). "Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation". Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (4): 564–570.
  • Farb, N. A., Segal, Z. V., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D., Fatima, Z., and Anderson, A. K. (2007). Attending to the present: mindfulness meditation reveals distinct neural modes of self reference. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 2, 313–322.
  • Gaser, C., Luders, E., Thompson, P. M., Lee, A. D., Dutton, R. A., Geaga, J. A., Hayashi, K. M., Bellugi, U., Galaburda, A. M., Korenberg, J. R., Mills, D. L., Toga, A. W., and Reiss, A. L. (2006). Increased local gyrification mapped in Williams syndrome. Neuroimage 33, 46–54.
  • Grant, J. A., Courtemanche, J., Duerden, E. G., Duncan, G. H., and Rainville, P. (2010). Cortical thickness and pain sensitivity in Zen meditators. Emotion 10, 43–53.
  • Hodgins, H. S., and Adair, K. C. (2010). Attentional processes and meditation. Conscious. Cogn. 19, 872–878.
  • Hofmann, S. G., Grossman, P., and Hinton, D. E. (2011). Loving kindness and compassion meditation: potential for psychological interventions. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 31, 1126–1132.
  • Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Evans, K. C., Hoge, E. A., Dusek, J. A., Morgan, L., Pitman, R. K., and Lazar, S. W. (2010). Stress reduction correlates with structural changes in the amygdala. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 5, 11–17.
  • Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., and Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Res. 191, 36–43.
  • Hölzel, B. K., Ott, U., Gard, T., Hempel, H., Weygandt, M., Morgen, K., and Vaitl, D. (2008). Investigation of mindfulness meditation practitioners with voxel-based morphometry. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 3, 55–61.
  • Jha, A. P., Krompinger, J., and Baime, M. J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cogn. Affect. Behav. Neurosci. 7, 109–119.
  • Kozhevnikov, M., Louchakova, O., Josipovic, Z., and Motes, M. A. (2009). The enhancement of visuospatial processing efficiency through Buddhist Deity meditation. Psychol. Sci. 20, 645–653.
  • Lazar, S. W., Kerr, C. E., Wasserman, R. H., Gray, J. R., Greve, D. N., Treadway, M. T., McGarvey, M., Quinn, B. T., Dusek, J. A., Benson, H., Rauch, S. L., Moore, C. I., and Fischl, B. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport 16, 1893–1897.
  • Luders, E., Clark, K., Narr, K. L., and Toga, A. W. (2011a). Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners. Neuroimage 57, 1308–1316.
  • Luders, E., Phillips, O., Clark, K., Kurth, F., Toga, A., and Narr, K. (2011b). Bridging the hemispheres in meditation: thicker callosal regions and enhanced fractional anisotropy (FA) in long-term practitioners. Neuroimage.
  • Luders, E., Toga, A. W., Lepore, N., and Gaser, C. (2009). The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter. Neuroimage 45, 672–678.
  • Lutz, A., Brefczynski-Lewis, J., Johnstone, T., and Davidson, R. J. (2008). Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of meditative expertise. PLOS ONE 3, e1897. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001897
  • Mason,M.F.,Norton,M.I.,VanHorn,J. D., Wegner, D. M., Grafton, S. T., and Macrae, C. N. (2007). Wandering minds: the default network and stimulus-independent thought. Science 315, 393–395.
  • Pagnoni, G., and Cekic, M. (2007). Age effects on gray matter volume and attentional performance in Zen meditation. Neurobiol. Aging 28, 1623–1627.
  • Pagnoni, G., Cekic, M., and Guo, Y. (2008). Thinking about not-thinking: neural correlates of conceptual processing during Zen meditation. PLOS ONE 3:e3083. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003083
  • Prashant Kaul, Jason Passafiume, R C Sargent and Bruce F O'Hara. Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need. Behavioral and Brain Functions 2010, 6:47
  • Tang, Y. Y., Lu, Q., Geng, X., Stein, E. A., Yang, Y., and Posner, M. I. (2010). Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107, 15649–15652.
  • Tloczynski, J., Santucci, A., and AstorStetson, E. (2000). Perception of visual illusions by novice and longerterm meditators. Percept. Mot. Skills 91, 1021–1026.
  • Vestergaard-Poulsen, P., van, B. M., Skewes, J., Bjarkam, C. R., Stubberup, M., Bertelsen, J., and Roepstorff, A. (2008). Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem. Neuroreport 20, 170–174.


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