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Impact of Meditation on Person Perception By: Katherine Aumer-Ryan Imaging Research Center Spring 2007


Person Perception Personality? Social Standing?


Goal: --Personality (e.g., Rosenberg et al., 1968; Vazire et al., in press) --Social Identity (e.g., Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Cosmides, Kurzban, & Tooby, 2003) Influenced by: --Emotional Contagion (e.g., Hatfield et al., 1993) --Own Emotions (e.g., Nielsen & Kaszniak, 2006) --Circumstance (e.g., Sherfi, 1961) --Attention (Miller, 1956) Person perception


--Valence, arousal, motivation, and control Emotions: --Warmth and competence (Fiske et al., 2000)


--MPFC activation (Harris & Fiske, 2006) Emotions:


“attention cannot be continuously sustained” --William James (1899/1962) Attention: Meditation: …a family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control… --Walsh & Shapiro (2006)


Meditation: --Mindfulness: allowing thoughts, feelings, or sensations to pass while maintaining a mental stance without judgment or analysis. Popular forms: zen, vipassana, and western adaptations. --Concentrative: focus on specific mental or sensory activity, e.g., breath or mental imagery. Popular forms: yogic, Buddhist Samatha, and Transcendental.


Literature: --Therapeutic: relieving anxiety and depression (MBSR; Kabat-Zinn, 2003; Benson, 1984) --Neurological: increased cortical growth (Lazar et al., 2005) --Emotional regulation: increased positive emotions and equanimity (Davidson et al., 2003; Goleman, 2003; Travis et al., 2004) --Voluntary autonomic control: breathing and heart rate (Lazar et al., 2000) --Better Immune response (Davidson et al., 2003) --Emotionally aware: detect microfacial expressions in others better (Goleman., 2003)


Premise: Meditation can enhance emotional awareness and control through extensive practice on the features and dynamics of emotional responses. Predict: Meditation affects person perception due to increased attention and entrainment of one’s own emotional activity. Method: Quantitative: fMRI Qualitative: interviews and scales


(+) Anterior Cingulate Qualitative: --Interview, report more positive interactions with individuals. --Mood Awareness Scale (MAS: Swinkels & Giuliano, 1995) --Trait Metamood Scale (TMM: Salovey et al., 1995) --Self-Assessed Wisdom scale (Webster, 2003) Quantitative Predictions: H2: (+) Compassion (-) Disgust, pride, envy, and pity H1: (+) MPFC and Left PFC (-) Insula


Participants: --Meditation Group meets on campus: --Surat Shabd Yoga (Concentrative) --Sahaj Marg (Mindfulness) --High quality and experienced --UT Yoga Group (10 didis and dadas) --Ananda Marga (Concentrative) --10 years of practice --Control group --age, gender, handedness, and diet matched.


Procedure: Inside scanner: Step 1:


Step 2:


Outcomes: Quantitative/Qualitative show difference: --Will demonstrate that meditation/training attention can affect one’s person perceptions and social interactions. Quantitative no diff/Qualitative show difference: --Will demonstrate that there are phenomenological differences that do not pertain to quantitatively identifiable differences with person perception and social interactions. Quantitative no diff/Qualitative no diff: --Will demonstrate meditation does not have a measurable affect one person perception and social interaction.


Thank you: IRC Dr. Michael Domjan Manish Saggar Mithra Sathishkumar Ronnie Hunter Brian Baldwin Dr. David Schnyer Participant organizers Santosh Khanjee Peter Fleury RAs and Emotional Support: Paul Aumer-Ryan Jenny Boyd Kelly Horne Elyse LeBuffe Eunice Lee Johnson Wu

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