richard davidson

richard davidson 5 bw

[madison, wi]

intro’d to Richard during this conversation/panel with the dalai lama.


Change the Brain by Transforming the Mind

march 2013

einstein quote davidson

free ourselves.. by widening our circles of compassion..


on Teachers and Mindfulness

Published on Aug 28, 2013

Study from the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds shows mindfulness training can help reduce teacher stress and burnout. 


find/follow Richard:

wikipedia small

Davidson’s research is focused on cortical and subcortical substrates of emotion and affective disorders, including depression and anxiety. Participants in imaging experiments include normal adults and young children, and those with, or at risk for, affective and anxiety disorders. Techniques used include quantitative electrophysiology, positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to make inferences about patterns of regional brain function. A major focus of his current work is on interactions between prefrontal cortex and the amygdala in the regulation of emotion in both normal subjects and patients with affective and anxiety disorders.

Richard Davidson is popularizing the idea that based on what is known about the plasticity of the brain, we can learn happiness and compassion as skills just as we learn to play a musical instrument, or train in golf or tennis. Happiness, like any skill, requires practice and time but because we know that the brain is built to change in response to mental training, it is possible to train a mind to be happy.

Davidson argues for a diagnosis of clinical depression with the help of emotional style. He describes emotional style as a set of continuums where some people fall at one extreme of the continuum while others fall somewhere in the middle. Clinical depression manifests as extremes on the outlook and resilience dimensions, where those afflicted have a more negative outlook and are slower to recover from adversity.

Richard Davidson and his collaborators have used rhesus monkeys as models of human neurophysiology and emotional response since 1992 when he and fellow UW–Madison researchers Ned H. Kalin and Steven E. 

Dr. Davidson’s work with human subjects has attracted the attention of both scientific and popular press, and has been covered by Scientific American andThe New York Times.

A longtime friend of the 14th Dalai Lama, some of his work involves research on the brain as it relates to meditation. Davidson has long maintained his own daily meditation practice, and continues to communicate regularly with the Dalai Lama.

This connection has caused controversy, with some scientists criticizing Davidson for being too close to someone with an interest in the outcome of his research and others claiming that it represents an inappropriate mix of faith and science. When he invited the Dalai Lama to participate in the “Neuroscience and Society” program of the Society for Neuroscience meeting in 2005, over 500 researchers signed a petition in protest. The majority of the petitioners were Chinese researchers, who may disagree politically with the Dalai Lama’s stance on Tibet. The controversy subsided quickly after most scientists attending the talk found it appropriate.

it was interesting to see that Richard was the only one who kept his eye on the Dalai Lama – and paused for translations… as he spoke.. [curious what his take would be in Tenzin ness]


Richard’s site:

davidson site

Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, and Founder and Chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984. He has published more than 275 articles, many chapters and reviews and edited 13 books. He has been a member of the Mind and Life Institute’s Board of Directors since 1991. He is also the author of the forthcoming book (with Sharon Begley) The Emotional Life of Your Brain to be published by Penguin in March of 2012.

Richard is founder of the center for investigating healthy minds:

center for investigating healthy minds

Located within the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is a research center dedicated to rigorously studying how healthy qualities of mind can positively impact the well-being of individuals and their communities. CIHM Founder Richard J. Davidson, a pioneer in affective neuroscience, and his team of scientists are at the forefront of this emerging hybrid discipline, contemplative neuroscience. The Center investigates whether and how contemplative traditions can physically change our brains and also help us live healthier, happier lives. The Center conducts both basic and translational research and works to translate its findings and the techniques developed from them into accessible tools, practices and information for people, families and communities throughout the world.

Richard on uw site:

richard on uw site


perhaps a means to widen that circle of compassion and get to the heart of all.. mindfulness.. in a more hastening manner…

a people experiment..?


dis order