Logo
    Search

    Seeking Serenity: Part 2

    enJune 08, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Understanding Cultural Differences in ResearchCultural assumptions and differences can impact research findings. It's important to remain open to learning from other perspectives and to consider cultural factors when conducting studies.

      The attempt to study the brain activity of experienced meditators in remote mountain retreats failed when they refused to allow electrodes on their head. Instead, the researchers gave a demonstration to young monks to show the neural signature of compassion. However, the monks burst out laughing and pointed out that compassion comes from the heart, not the brain. This highlighted the cultural differences and assumptions between the scientists and the monks. The Dalai Lama advised the researchers to study meditation practitioners in the West, and they followed his advice by recruiting those who had familiarity with the United States to come to the lab. This experience showed how important it is to understand cultural differences in research and to remain open to learning from other perspectives.

    • The Power of Long-term Meditation on Perception and Brain StructureConsistent meditation practices can enhance perception and awareness, as well as induce structural changes in the brain. Master meditators exhibit synchronized gamma activity, which binds different experiences into a unified whole. Scientific interest in meditation surged following a prominent 2004 paper.

      Long-term meditation can lead to heightened states of perception and awareness, including the ability to see connections that most of us might miss. Meditation could literally change our minds as it can lead to structural changes in the brain. Gamma activity is the core mechanism that binds different elements together to create a unified percept in our experience and synchronized gamma activity is seen in the minds of master meditators. A 2004 paper on meditation published in an august scientific journal was a real inflection point that led to a steep rise in scientific papers on meditation.

    • Transforming Pain through ObservationBy observing pain, we can transform our experience of it. Through introspection and understanding, we can approach agonizing situations without fear, and use observation as a stress test for the mind.

      Psychologist Richie Davidson found that he could transform the experience of pain by observing it rather than trying to avoid it. He ran an experiment measuring the pain's effects on long-term meditators and non-meditators, using a heat stimulus and an MRI scanner. By observing the brain's response, he found that the pain matrix, a set of brain regions that process physical pain, activates immediately. This method can be used as a stress test for the mind and the brain. Through deep introspection and observation, we can see that pain is not just one thing, but a combination of varied qualities that can be labeled as granular and differentiated. It encourages us to approach agonizing situations by understanding and studying them, rather than running away from them.

    • The Power of Meditation: Being Present and Reducing SufferingAdvanced meditators show reduced distress in response to pain due to their ability to live in the moment, which can be achieved through meditation training.

      Meditation training can help us be more present in the moment and reduce suffering caused by worry and rumination. This is demonstrated by the fact that advanced meditators show no significant activation in any area of the pain matrix when hearing an anticipatory tone, and recover quickly after experiencing actual physical pain. They may have the ability to turn off the prefrontal cortex when it's no longer necessary and not ruminate about past events or future worries. This neural signature of resilience and the reduced distress rating of painful stimuli parallels the meditators' reports of pain intensity. Meditation can change our everyday behavior by helping us live in the moment.

    • Mindfulness techniques for decreasing stress and enhancing altruism.Regular mindfulness-based meditation can reduce stress response, strengthen the immune system, decrease anger, and enhance altruistic behavior. Training in mindfulness can begin at an early age and can have lasting positive effects.

      Through mindfulness-based stress reduction and compassion-based mindfulness techniques, one can decrease stress response, strengthen the immune system, and enhance altruistic behavior. This can be achieved with practice and regular meditation. Richard Davidson's experiment with employees of a high tech corporation showed that individuals who underwent mindfulness-based stress reduction had a significantly more robust response to the flu vaccine compared to their control counterparts. Regular meditators show less anger and less focus on themselves. Through an experiment involving financial transactions between strangers, it was discovered that volunteers who underwent training in compassion-based mindfulness techniques were more monetarily altruistic compared to their randomly assigned counterparts. Training in these qualities can start in preschool children aged four and five years old.

    • The Power of Contemplative Training in Increasing Altruistic Behaviour in ChildrenSimple contemplative training can foster altruistic behaviour in children, as demonstrated in an experiment where children gave more stickers to others, including those they disliked, sick children, and strangers. Healthy Minds Innovations supports these practices without any financial conflict of interest.

      Contemplative training can significantly increase altruistic behaviour in children, as shown by an experiment where children were given stickers to either keep for themselves or distribute to others. Simple forms of contemplative training where children are asked to think about a peer and practice altruism resulted in children giving more stickers to others, including their least favorite person, a sick child, and a kid they have never seen before. While there may be an emotional conflict of interest in scientific studies on contemplative practices, the nonprofit entity, Healthy Minds Innovations, created by Richard Davidson, which supports these practices, has no financial conflict of interest. Richard Davidson also plans to donate all his speaking and consulting fees for his active career to this nonprofit.

    • The Complexities Surrounding Meditation and Scientific ResearchMeditation may have benefits, but scientific research must be conducted using rigorous methods and non-findings must be published. Mindfulness training can have harmful side effects, and structural changes in the brain may not always occur. Meditation is a personal choice, while scientific research is a community enterprise.

      Meditation is not a one size fits all solution to human misery. Rigorous methods must be used in scientific research, and non-findings must also be published. While mindfulness has benefits, critics argue that the benefits are overhyped, and mindfulness training can lead to harmful side effects. Scientific research on the structural changes in the brain after a two-month MBSR program showed that contrary to popular belief, mindfulness-based stress reduction does not lead to structural changes in the brain. As a scientist and meditator, Richard Davidson believes that scientific findings must be adjudicated in the community, and others should be encouraged to replicate his findings. Meditation is a personal choice; scientific research is a community enterprise based on rigorous methods.

    • Utilizing Meditation and Mindfulness for Public Speaking AnxietyBy incorporating meditative practices into your routine, you can calm your mind and reduce anxiety before important events like public speaking. Additionally, utilizing online resources can assist in finding additional support and solutions to logistical challenges.

      Meditation and mindfulness can help in reducing public speaking anxiety by providing tools to prepare for important talks. The fear of public speaking, like many fears, is about your concerns about what will happen to you in the future. By meditating, individuals can calm their minds and prepare themselves for the event, and this can help to alleviate anxiety. Websites like care.com can help in finding experienced childcare and support, providing a solution for the busy parent. Uber may be seen as a solution to a transportation problem, but it is also a company that provides employment opportunities. By downloading Hidden Brain Plus, you can access researchers and have your questions answered.

    • How Anticipation of Pain and Expectations Can Affect Our Performance and How Meditation and Letting Go Can Help Us ThriveLetting go of expectations and prioritizing happiness can lead to resilience and success while meditation can help us deal with emotions and improve behavior. Transformative experiences have the power to shape our lives.

      Our anticipation of pain can itself be a source of pain. This can affect our ability to perform well. Regular meditation practice can help deal with emotions and change behavior. Richard's experience with his son highlights the role of ego and expectations. Letting go of these expectations allowed for natural growth and resilience, resulting in a successful outcome. Ultimately, the key to happiness is to prioritize it above any other expectations. The significance of the experience with the Dalai Lama reveal the power of transformative experiences in shaping one's life.

    • The Power of Humility and Letting Go of Personal BiasesBe aware of personal biases and approach work with a humble and open mindset. Recognize that any work is the product of numerous causes and conditions, and avoid taking sole ownership of others' contributions.

      The Dalai Lama corrected Richard Davidson for taking ownership of his student's work by saying not to use phrases like 'my graduate student' and 'my lab'. This taught Davidson a powerful lesson about humility and how personal biases can cloud our perception of the world. It's important to consider that any work is the product of numerous causes and conditions, and not just the individual claiming ownership. Paying attention to how our minds process the world can greatly impact our experiences. This lesson can be applied to both personal and professional life, and it's important to approach work with a humble and open mindset.

    Recent Episodes from Hidden Brain

    Our God-Shaped Brains

    Our God-Shaped Brains

    Some think of religious faith as just that: a leap of faith. But psychologists are increasingly filling in the gaps in our understanding of how beliefs shape — and are shaped by — the human mind. This week, psychologist Ara Norenzayan explores features in the brain that are tied to our capacity for faith. And he shows how all of us, both religious and non-religious people, can use this knowledge to find more meaning in our lives.

    For more of our reporting on religion and the mind, be sure to check out our episode "Creating God."
     

    Hidden Brain
    enJune 17, 2024

    Why You Feel Empty

    Why You Feel Empty

    Have you ever had an unexplainable feeling of emptiness? Life seems perfect - and yet - something is missing. This week, sociologist Corey Keyes helps us understand where feelings of emptiness come from, how to navigate them and why they're more common than we might assume.

    If you missed it, make sure to listen to last week's episode on Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You. Thanks for listening!

    Hidden Brain
    enJune 10, 2024

    Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You

    Why Trying Too Hard Can Backfire On You

    Thinking is a human superpower. On a daily basis, thinking and planning and effort bring us innumerable benefits. But like all aspects of human behavior, you can sometimes get too much of a good thing. This week, we talk with philosopher Ted Slingerland about techniques to prevent overthinking, and how we can cultivate the under-appreciated skill of letting go. 

    To hear more of our conversation with Ted Slingerland, be sure to check out our Hidden Brain+ episode with him, available now. You can join Hidden Brain+ via Patreon or Apple Podcasts. Thanks for listening! 

    Hidden Brain
    enJune 03, 2024

    Innovation 2.0: Do Less

    Innovation 2.0: Do Less

    The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire to create can keep us from seeing one of the most powerful paths to progress: subtraction. In a favorite conversation from 2022, engineer Leidy Klotz shares how streamlining and simplifying is sometimes the best path to innovation. 

    Today's episode concludes our Innovation 2.0 series. If you've enjoyed these episodes, please tell a friend about them! They can find all of the stories in this series in this podcast feed, or at https://hiddenbrain.org/. Thanks for listening! 

    Hidden Brain
    enMay 27, 2024

    Innovation 2.0: Shortcuts and Speed Bumps

    Innovation 2.0: Shortcuts and Speed Bumps

    Most of us love to brainstorm with colleagues. But so often, our idea-generating sessions don't lead to anything tangible. Teams fill up walls with sticky notes about creative possibilities and suggestions for improvement, but nothing actually gets implemented. Some researchers even have a name for it: "innovation theater." This week, we explore the science of execution. Psychologist Bob Sutton tells us how to move from innovation theater . . . to actual innovation.

    You can find all the episodes in our Innovation 2.0 series in this podcast feed, or on our website, hiddenbrain.org

    Hidden Brain
    enMay 20, 2024

    Innovation 2.0: The Influence You Have

    Innovation 2.0: The Influence You Have

    Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn’t stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we continue our Innovation 2.0 series with a 2020 episode about a phenomenon known as as “egocentric bias.” We talk with psychologist Vanessa Bohns about how this bias leads us astray, and how we can use this knowledge to ask for the things we need. 

    Did you catch the first two episodes in our Innovation 2.0 series? You can find them in this podcast feed or on our website. And if you're enjoying this series, please share it with a friend or family member. Thanks! 

    Hidden Brain
    enMay 13, 2024

    Innovation 2.0: Multiplying the Growth Mindset

    Innovation 2.0: Multiplying the Growth Mindset

    Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that people wrote you off? Maybe a teacher suggested you weren't talented enough to take a certain class, or a boss implied that you didn't have the smarts needed to handle a big project. In the latest in our "Innovation 2.0 series," we talk with Mary Murphy, who studies what she calls "cultures of genius." We'll look at how these cultures can keep people and organizations from thriving, and how we can create environments that better foster our growth.

    Do you know someone who'd find the ideas in today's episode to be useful? Please share it with them! And if you liked today's conversation, you might also like these classic Hidden Brain episodes: 

     The Edge Effect

    The Secret to Great Teams

    Dream Jobs

    Innovation 2.0: How Big Ideas Are Born

    Innovation 2.0: How Big Ideas Are Born

    Why is it so hard to guess where we're meant to be? To predict where we'll end up? Nearly all of us have had the experience of traveling down one road, only to realize it's not the road for us. At the University of Virginia, Saras Sarasvathy uses the lens of entrepreneurship to study how we plan and prepare for the future. We kick off our new "Innovation 2.0" series by talking with Saras about how we pursue goals and make decisions.

    Do you know someone who might benefit from our conversation with Saras about expert entrepreneurs? Please share it with them if so! And be sure to check out our other conversations about how to get out of ruts and figure out a path forward: 

    Who Do You Want to Be?

    You 2.0 : How to Break Out of a Rut

    Parents: Keep Out!

    Parents: Keep Out!

    If you're a parent or a teacher, you've probably wondered how to balance play and safety for the kids in your care. You don't want to put children in danger, but you also don't want to rob them of the joy of exploration. This week, we talk with psychologist Peter Gray about how this balance has changed — for parents and children alike — and what we can do about it.

    For more of our reporting on children and parents, check out these classic Hidden Brain episodes:

    Kinder-Gardening

    Bringing Up Baby 

     

    The Curious Science of Cravings

    The Curious Science of Cravings

    We've all had those days when all we want is a little treat. Maybe it's a bag of chips, an ice cream sundae or a glass of wine. But sometimes, these desires become all-consuming. This week on the show, psychiatrist Judson Brewer helps us understand the science of cravings, and how we should respond to them. 

    If you liked today's conversation, be sure to check out other Hidden Brain episodes about ways to regain a feeling of control over your life: Creatures of Habit and Taking Control of Your Time.

    Related Episodes

    EP22 | 這世界上所有瀑布都是獨一無二的。

    EP22 | 這世界上所有瀑布都是獨一無二的。
    facebook|apple|spotify|kkbox|youtube 搜尋:dripdrop 水滴石穿 → linktr.ee/dripdroprock https://www.youtube.com/c/dripdroprock/videos -- Take a deep breath, pause, and feel yourself existing in the river. 深呼吸。停下腳步。感受自己存在於溪流中。 Along with the sound of the clear rivers in summer, listen to the cicadas from deep in the forest, such a beautiful natural movement forms a quiet and vibrant background. It can help you relax, improve your concentration on learning and reading, and practice yoga or meditation quietly. It's also a lullaby that leads a baby into a Tranquil and sweet dreamland. It also alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and regain a healthy body and mind with a sense of happiness. 伴隨著夏天清澈的溪流聲響,聆聽從森林深處傳來的蟬鳴,如此美妙的綠色樂章形成寂靜而充滿活力的背景。幫助您更快地舒緩放鬆,提升專注的學習與閱讀,靜心的進行瑜珈與冥想練習,也是引領寶寶進入甜蜜夢鄉的睡前搖籃曲,能夠減緩焦慮、改善睡眠,重新找回幸福感與健康的身心。 This is a soundscape I recorded in Wanggu Waterfall, New Taipei, Taiwan. All the materials in this video are original. You can play it for a long time, so that the balanced atmosphere of nature will diffuse into the space and place where you are, through the bedroom, study room , and even anywhere. 這是我在台灣新北之望古瀑布親自錄製的聲景,本視頻中所有材料均為原創。您可以透過持續的長時間播放,大自然平衡的氛圍將潛入所在的空間與場所,穿越臥室和書房甚至是任何地方。

    EP31 | 隨著潮來潮往遇上了誰 ?

    EP31 | 隨著潮來潮往遇上了誰 ?
    facebook|apple|spotify|kkbox|youtube 搜尋:dripdrop 水滴石穿 → linktr.ee/dripdroprock https://www.youtube.com/c/dripdroprock/videos -- Take a deep breath, pause, and feel yourself existing in the ocean. 深呼吸。停下腳步。感受自己存在於大海中。 Pieces of waves coming in the wind, listening to the back and forth sound of beating on the rocks, the blue movement from the ocean forms a free and boundless background. It can help you relax, improve your concentration on learning and reading, and practice yoga or meditation quietly. It's also a lullaby that leads a baby into a Tranquil and sweet dreamland. It also alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and regain a healthy body and mind with a sense of happiness. 迎風而來的一片片浪花,聆聽拍打在岩石上的來回聲響,來自海洋的藍色樂章形成自由遼闊的背景。幫助更快地舒緩放鬆,提升專注的學習與閱讀,靜心的進行瑜珈與冥想練習,也是引領寶寶進入甜蜜夢鄉的睡前搖籃曲,能夠減緩焦慮、改善睡眠,重新找回幸福感與健康的身心。 This is a soundscape I recorded in Dingliao Beach, New Taipei, Taiwan. All the materials in this video are original. You can play it for a long time, so that the balanced atmosphere of nature will diffuse into the space and place where you are, through the bedroom, study room , and even anywhere. 這是我在台灣新北之頂寮海灘親自錄製的聲景,本視頻中所有材料均為原創。可以透過持續的長時間播放,大自然平衡的氛圍將潛入所在的空間與場所,穿越臥室和書房甚至是任何地方。

    EP29 | 海浪沖到沙灘上有點像棉花糖。

    EP29 | 海浪沖到沙灘上有點像棉花糖。
    facebook|apple|spotify|kkbox|youtube 搜尋:dripdrop 水滴石穿 → linktr.ee/dripdroprock https://www.youtube.com/c/dripdroprock/videos -- Take a deep breath, pause, and feel yourself existing in the ocean. 深呼吸。停下腳步。感受自己存在於大海中。 Pieces of waves coming in the wind, listening to the back and forth sound of beating on the rocks, the blue movement from the ocean forms a free and boundless background. It can help you relax, improve your concentration on learning and reading, and practice yoga or meditation quietly. It's also a lullaby that leads a baby into a Tranquil and sweet dreamland. It also alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and regain a healthy body and mind with a sense of happiness. 迎風而來的一片片浪花,聆聽拍打在岩石上的來回聲響,來自海洋的藍色樂章形成自由遼闊的背景。幫助更快地舒緩放鬆,提升專注的學習與閱讀,靜心的進行瑜珈與冥想練習,也是引領寶寶進入甜蜜夢鄉的睡前搖籃曲,能夠減緩焦慮、改善睡眠,重新找回幸福感與健康的身心。 This is a soundscape I recorded in Huanggang Fishing Harbor, New Taipei, Taiwan. All the materials in this video are original. You can play it for a long time, so that the balanced atmosphere of nature will diffuse into the space and place where you are, through the bedroom, study room , and even anywhere. 這是我在台灣新北之磺港漁港親自錄製的聲景,本視頻中所有材料均為原創。可以透過持續的長時間播放,大自然平衡的氛圍將潛入所在的空間與場所,穿越臥室和書房甚至是任何地方。

    EP02 | 生命是一段漫長的旅行,偶爾也需要短暫休息一會兒。

    EP02 | 生命是一段漫長的旅行,偶爾也需要短暫休息一會兒。
    facebook|apple|spotify|kkbox|youtube 搜尋:dripdrop 水滴石穿 → linktr.ee/dripdroprock https://www.youtube.com/c/dripdroprock/videos -- Take a deep breath, pause, and feel yourself existing in the river. 深呼吸。停下腳步。感受自己存在於溪流中。 Along with the sound of the clear rivers in summer, listen to the cicadas from deep in the forest, such a beautiful natural movement forms a quiet and vibrant background. It can help you relax, improve your concentration on learning and reading, and practice yoga or meditation quietly. It's also a lullaby that leads a baby into a Tranquil and sweet dreamland. It also alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and regain a healthy body and mind with a sense of happiness. 伴隨著夏天清澈的溪流聲響,聆聽從森林深處傳來的蟬鳴,如此美妙的綠色樂章形成寂靜而充滿活力的背景。幫助您更快地舒緩放鬆,提升專注的學習與閱讀,靜心的進行瑜珈與冥想練習,也是引領寶寶進入甜蜜夢鄉的睡前搖籃曲,能夠減緩焦慮、改善睡眠,重新找回幸福感與健康的身心。 This is a soundscape I recorded in Malingkeng River, Keelung, Taiwan. All the materials in this video are original. You can play it for a long time, so that the balanced atmosphere of nature will diffuse into the space and place where you are, through the bedroom, study room , and even anywhere. 這是我在台灣基隆之瑪陵坑溪親自錄製的聲景,本視頻中所有材料均為原創。您可以透過持續的長時間播放,大自然平衡的氛圍將潛入所在的空間與場所,穿越臥室和書房甚至是任何地方。

    EP11 | 每當走進森林深處一定會遇上特別的聲音。

    EP11 | 每當走進森林深處一定會遇上特別的聲音。
    facebook|apple|spotify|kkbox|youtube 搜尋:dripdrop 水滴石穿 → linktr.ee/dripdroprock https://www.youtube.com/c/dripdroprock/videos -- Take a deep breath, pause, and feel yourself existing in the river. 深呼吸。停下腳步。感受自己存在於溪流中。 Along with the sound of the clear rivers in summer, listen to the cicadas from deep in the forest, such a beautiful natural movement forms a quiet and vibrant background. It can help you relax, improve your concentration on learning and reading, and practice yoga or meditation quietly. It's also a lullaby that leads a baby into a Tranquil and sweet dreamland. It also alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and regain a healthy body and mind with a sense of happiness. 伴隨著夏天清澈的溪流聲響,聆聽從森林深處傳來的蟬鳴,如此美妙的綠色樂章形成寂靜而充滿活力的背景。幫助您更快地舒緩放鬆,提升專注的學習與閱讀,靜心的進行瑜珈與冥想練習,也是引領寶寶進入甜蜜夢鄉的睡前搖籃曲,能夠減緩焦慮、改善睡眠,重新找回幸福感與健康的身心。 This is a soundscape I recorded in Pingxi, New Taipei, Taiwan. All the materials in this video are original. You can play it for a long time, so that the balanced atmosphere of nature will diffuse into the space and place where you are, through the bedroom, study room , and even anywhere. 這是我在台灣新北平溪之東勢格越嶺古道親自錄製的聲景,本視頻中所有材料均為原創。您可以透過持續的長時間播放,大自然平衡的氛圍將潛入所在的空間與場所,穿越臥室和書房甚至是任何地方。