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  Mens Sana Monographs
A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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BRAIN, MIND AND CONSCIOUSNESS
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 276-283

Meditation and the brain: Attention, control and emotion


Professor of Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Epistemology, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil

Correspondence Address:
Gabriel José Corrêa Mograbi
Rua Florença n. 8, Jardim Tropical, Cuiabá, MT - CEP: 78065-175
Brazil
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1229.77444

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Meditation has been for long time avoided as a scientific theme because of its complexity and its religious connotations. Fortunately, in the last years, it has increasingly been studied within different neuroscientific experimental protocols. Attention and concentration are surely among the most important topics in these experiments. Notwithstanding this, inhibition of emotions and discursive thoughts are equally important to understand what is at stake during those types of mental processes. I philosophically and technically analyse and compare results from neuroimaging studies, produced by leading authorities on the theme, dealing with two types of meditation: "one-pointed concentration" and "compassion meditation". Analysing "one-pointed concentration", I show the differences between novice and expert meditation practitioners in terms of brain activity and connectivity, considering the relationship among increased attention and concentration and decreased activity in areas related to discursive thought and emotion. Analysing "compassion meditation", I show the importance of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. I follow the same strategy of comparing novice and expert meditation practitioners. The conclusion establishes a common structure to those different ways of dealing with emotion during meditation.


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