July 22, 2020
In this episode, Wendy speaks with neuroscientist, psychologist, and director of the Center for Healthy Minds, Richard (Richie) Davidson. Richie is one of the founders of contemplative science, and shares his perspective on the past, present, and future of the field. Their conversation covers many topics, including:
- his early interest in the mind and experiences with meditation;
- the beginnings of meditation research, and a challenge from the Dalai Lama;
- what we know (and don’t know) about how meditation changes the brain;
- how investigating the self can lead to resilience;
- current challenges to the field of contemplative science;
- the need for research on analytic meditation;
- negative findings and publication bias;
- promises and pitfalls of research on psychedelics;
- the value of training well-being, and other topics.
Richie Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. He has published over 440 articles, numerous chapters and reviews and edited 14 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” published in 2012 and co-author with Daniel Goleman of “Altered Traits” published in 2017. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017 and appointed to the Governing Board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in 2018. Richie is a Founding Steward of the Mind & Life Institute, and currently serves as its Chief Scientific Advisor.