Buddha’s Brain

Is meditation just the preserve of Buddhists and new age faddists ? An increasing body of evidence shows that sustained meditation has significant positive effects on cognitive capacity, and neurological structure. Click here to see the details of Davidson & Lutz’s 2008study of Buddhist Monks and Novice Meditators.

In short : Davidson & Lutz studied Tibetan Buddhist Monks in an fMRI machine. These monks were highly experienced meditation practitioners, each having undertaken an average of 19,000 hours of practice. The monks were given a number of cognitive tasks to undertake. Their fMRI results were compared with those of non-meditators.

Results: It was found that
(i) the monks could pay attention to a particular stimulus for a longer period of time than non-meditators
(ii) the monks were able to process stimuli faster, and for a more sustained period than non-meditators.
(iii) the monks showed less activation in the amygdala (the ‘seat’ of emotion) when played ’emotional sounds’ than non-meditators.
(iv) the monks used fewer ‘brain resources’ to process stimuli than non-meditators.

The implications of this research are at least revolutionary, and possibly indicate the need for profound changes in the way in which we shape learning, training and living



About danieltrump

breathing and sensing human. Learning to observe, learning to write, exploring ideas and thinking. www.danieltrump.wordpress.com


  1. The evidence for the physical effects of meditation has been mounting for years. I am a physicist and a hyper-rationalist and have absolutely no qualms about meditation. On a personal level, I started practising Vipassana meditation a month ago and I can already feel a change.

  2. Hi David, many thanks for your contribution. Meditation and positive plasticity are clearly linked. I agree with you, we are starting to find that practices formerly labelled as “ritual” have a positivist scientific founding. Enjoy, and prosper !

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