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17625Re: [Meditation Society of America] Mindfulness Meditation Changes Decision-making Process

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  • Beth Tremblay
    Apr 21, 2011

      Really interesting study.  One could extrapolate that by being in the moment, the meditator group sees what is.  The group doesn't see a deficit of what they could have if only...  This most certainly applies to happiness. Humans often become unhappy when we see that others have more than ourselves. A wonderful side effect of mindfulness is being happy for the success of others rather than jealous.  Thanks for sharing.

      Beth

      On Apr 21, 2011 11:31 AM, "medit8ionsociety" <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
      > Functional MRI Shows How Mindfulness Meditation
      > Changes Decision-making Process
      > 21 Apr 2011
      >
      > If a friend or relative won $100 and then
      > offered you a few dollars, would you accept
      > this windfall? The logical answer would seem
      > to be, sure, why not? "But human decision making
      > does not always appear rational," said Read
      > Montague, professor of physics at Virginia Tech
      > and director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory
      > at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
      >
      > According to research conducted over the last
      > three decades; only about one-fourth of us would
      > say, "Sure. Thanks." The rest would say, "But
      > that's not fair. You have lots. Why are you only
      > giving me a few?" In fact, people will even turn
      > down any reward rather than accept an 'unfair' share.
      >
      > Unless they are Buddhist meditators, in which
      > case fair or not more than half will take what
      > is offered, according to new research by Ulrich
      > Kirk, research assistant professor with the Human
      > Neuroimaging Laboratory at Virginia Tech; Jonathan
      > Downar, assistant professor with the Neuropsychiatry
      > Clinic and the Centre for Addition and Mental
      > Health at the University of Toronto; and Montague,
      > published in the April 2011 issue of Frontiers
      > in Decision Neuroscience.
      >
      > Their research shows that Buddhist meditators use
      > different areas of the brain than other people
      > when confronted with unfair choices, enabling them
      > to make decisions rationally rather than emotionally.
      > The meditators had trained their brains to function
      > differently and make better choices in certain situations.
      >
      > The research "highlights the clinically and
      > socially important possibility that sustained
      > training in mindfulness meditation may impact
      > distinct domains of human decision making,"
      > the researchers write.
      >
      > The research came about when Montague wondered
      > whether some people are capable of ignoring the
      > social consideration of fairness and can appreciate
      > a reward based on its intrinsic qualities alone.
      > "That is," he said, "can they uncouple emotional
      > reaction from their actual behavior?"
      >
      > Using computational and neuroimaging techniques,
      > Montague studies the neurobiology of human social
      > cognition and decision-making. He and his
      > students recruited 26 Buddhist meditators and
      > 40 control subjects for comparison and looked
      > at their brain processes using functional MRI
      > (fMRI) while the subjects played the "ultimatum game,"
      > in which the first player propose how to divide a
      > sum of money and the second can accept or reject the proposal.
      >
      > The researchers hypothesized that "successful
      > regulation of negative emotional reactions would
      > lead to increased acceptance rates of unfair offers"
      > by the meditators. The behavioral results confirmed
      > the hypothesis.
      >
      > But the neuroimaging results showed that Buddhist
      > meditators engaged different parts of the brain
      > than expected. Kirk, Downar, and Montague explained
      > that "The anterior insula has previously been
      > linked to the emotion of disgust, and plays a
      > key role in marking social norm violations, rejection,
      > betrayal, and mistrust. In previous studies of
      > the ultimatum game, anterior insula activity was
      > higher for unfair offers, and the strength of its
      > activity predicted the likelihood of an offer being
      > rejected. In the present study, this was true
      > for controls. However, in meditators, the anterior
      > insula showed no significant activation for unfair
      > offers, and there was no significant relationship
      > between anterior insula activity and offer rejection.
      > Hence, meditators were able to uncouple the
      > negative emotional response to an unfair offer,
      > presumably by attending to internal bodily states (
      > interoception) reflected by activity in the
      > posterior insula."
      >
      > The researchers conclude, "Our results suggest
      > that the lower-level interoceptive representation
      > of the posterior insula is recruited based on
      > individual trait levels in mindfulness. When
      > assessing unfair offers, meditators seem to
      > activate an almost entirely different network of
      > brain areas than do normal controls. Controls draw
      > upon areas involved in theory of mind, prospection,
      > episodic memory, and fictive error. In contrast,
      > meditators instead draw upon areas involved in
      > interoception and attention to the present moment.
      > ...This study suggests that the trick may lie not
      > in rational calculation, but in steering away from
      > what-if scenarios, and concentrating on the
      > interoceptive qualities that accompany any
      > reward, no matter how small."
      >
      > Sources: Virginia Tech, AlphaGalileo Foundation.
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/223028.php
      >
      > This article is being posted for non-commercial
      > purposes only and thus can be shared relative to the
      > Fair Use Statutes
      >
      >
      >
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