This is an interview of Prof. Richard J. Davidson on Shrink Rap Radio, hosted by David Van Nuys, discussing his research on meditation and the brain. Davidson tells that his research shows that meditation has a beneficial effects on the mind and quantitative effects on brain functions. Even novice meditators show immediate changes, with experienced long term meditators showing more pronounced changes to their brainwave patterns. One thing he has noticed is that, given each individual starts with a slightly different brain structure, different meditation techniques have varying degrees of effects. One thing he would like to see in the future is a way to establish which technique is most suitable for each individual, without having to go through a trial and error phase. He also talks about supportive research on the benefits of meditation on other physiological processes as well as its epigenetic effects.

His overall conclusion is that the brain is plastic, and therefore changes according to our experiences, and it is therefore up to each of us to ensure that we change ourselves in a positive way rather than leaving it to the vagaries of external experiences to change us in ways we may not appreciate.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.