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Mindfulness Meditation Changes Decision-making Process

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  • medit8ionsociety
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 21 8:31 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      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
    • Beth Tremblay
      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
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 21 9:42 AM
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        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
        >
        >
        >
      • Caroline Grevelle
        Thank you very much for this article. Caroline On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM, medit8ionsociety
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 21 9:59 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          Thank you very much for this article.

          Caroline

          On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 10:31 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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