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Latest Science

Within MindScience Academy the Latest Science branch is an outpost or watchtower on international scientific literature. In here notable scientific articles kindred to MindScience pursuit are periodically selected. The purpose here is to offer further cues of trajectories for thought, opportunities for each to nurture and develop their own understanding of such diffuse and maze-like probe.
Terje Sparby, Dirk Cysarz, David Hornemann v. Laer Et Al
This March 2024 research aligns perfectly with the April Focus On theme on epistemology. Starting from attentional control and the ability to direct attention towards different objects, which is typically perceived as a fundamental indicator of attentional freedom, it addresses the control and maintenance of attention, inevitably leading to the theme of mind-wandering. In their discussion, the authors expand on those authors, philosophers, and scientists mentioned in our last two analyses, becoming the natural completion of this overview. The researchers question whether it is possible to experience the source of attention, namely the subject exercising freedom through attention, inevitably delving into the realm of introspection and contemplation.
Malcolm J. Wright, Joseph L. Sanguinetti, Shinzen Young & Matthew D. Sacchet
In the numerous scientific studies focusing on meditation, obstacles often arise due to incongruences between meditators' personal accounts and objective measurements (such as those related to brain states). This research addresses this issue by demonstrating the potential of contemplative theory to support scientific inquiry.
Researchers have translated key theories from Buddhist contemplative traditions [such as the nature of mind, consciousness, non-self, etc.] into scientific terms, and then systematized these translations into a functionalist model of the mind - the Thin Model - capable of informing scientific investigation.
In the results, it was found that Buddhist doctrine aligns with objective descriptions of mental function, and the Thin Model derived from these translations demonstrates immediate explanatory power. The model allows for the connection of complex higher-level phenomena, such as subjective reports of mental states, to complex lower-level phenomena, such as empirically measured brain states. A detailed demonstration illustrates how the model can convert subjective reports of ecstatic meditative states (jhānas) into testable neuroscientific hypotheses.
In conclusion, the researchers - in this April 2023 study - provide an account of contemplative theory amenable to scientific investigation. The approach, exemplified in the Thin Model, offers immediate explanatory power, allows meaningful dialogue between diverse research traditions, and provides an organizing principle for explanations of mental phenomena.
Terje Sparby
This interesting article provides an overview of the concept of meditation hindrances and discusses both the problems and the potential benefits inherent in the idea of relativizing the distinction between negative and positive effects.
For meditation practitioners facing unpleasant and potentially harmful hindrances, research in this field is vital. What may seem to be a more effective approach may also be potentially more harmful. An approach that is safe may not be effective at all. Uncovering the details of these issues, including what such terms as "negative," "harmful," "spiritual progress," etc., mean, is a future task of contemplative science.
What has been offered here (article from September 2022) is a proposal for an initial overview of the distinction between dual and non-dual approaches to meditation hindrances, based on traditional Buddhist accounts and contemporary meditation manuals primarily inspired by Buddhism.
Maria K. Pavlova
In this very recent work (February 2024), we delve into understanding the added value of determining whether mind wandering (MW) is based on automatic or controlled processes. From an applied perspective, clarifying the nature of cognitive processing during MW would largely demystify this phenomenon and help understand its significance (e.g., daily life management) and its limitations (e.g., unsuitability for complex learning), as well as the limitations of goal-directed thought (e.g., dependence on subconscious cost–benefit computations), in everyday contexts.
Amy Cawley & Ricardo Tejeiro
This very recent study, published on January 20, 2024, shows that a single brief session of VR mindfulness can produce short-term beneficial effects in people at high risk of stress, greater than those achieved through colouring and audio mindfulness. This suggests promising direct implications for university mental health services, although future research is needed to explore long-term benefits as well as the relative efficacy of longer interventions.
Andrea Scalabrini, Michelangelo De Amicis, Agostino Brugnera Et Al
Synchrony is a most fundamental and basic feature in the biological world and thus in nature holding across different species. The study explores the question of whether this also applies to our perception of self. The conclusion is that our self and our degree of synchrony with the body, others and the environment is the psychological component more threatened by an adverse external event (like the COVID-19 pandemic) and, at the same time, the factor more associated with resiliency and coping during such times. The Authors demonstrate the key role of an internal-external synchrony in our perception of self – this aligns the self with the biological world and nature where synchrony is a most basic fundamental feature holding across different species.
Wei Du, HongboYu, Xinghua Liu & Xiaolin Zhou
Extant research has demonstrated the positive intrapersonal efects of mindfulness training. However, the cognitive mechanisms underlying the efects of mindfulness training on interpersonal processes are less clear.
Research cited in the article:
Antoine Lutz, Heleen A. Slagter, John D. Dunne, Richard J. Davidson
Julia Diemer, Georg W. Alpers, Henrik M. Peperkorn, Et Al
Virtual reality (VR) has made its way into mainstream psychology research over the past two decades. This technology, with its unique ability to simulate complex and real-life situations and contexts, offers researchers unprecedented opportunities to study human behavior in well-controlled laboratory projects.
Dylan T. Lott, Tenzin Yeshi, Et Al
Recent EEG studies on the early postmortem interval that suggest the persistence of electrophysiological coherence and connectivity in the brain of animals and humans reinforce the need for further investigation of the relationship between the brain’s activity and the dying process.