We propose to extend our Center for Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CERC)-The Wisconsin Center for the Neuroscience and Psychophysiology of Meditation-for a second five-year period. This will be a highly focused center dedicated to novel and cutting edge research on the mechanisms by meditation works. In the next five-year period, two of the original three projects will continue wih important new components. Project 1 (Davidson, PI) will examine the impact of the explicit use of mindfulness and loving-kindness-compassion strategies on emotion regulation, specifically neural, hormonal and behavioral (including facial electromyography in the scanner) indices of reactivity to and recovery from pictures of human suffering and flourishing. Project 2 will be directed by William Busse, a well-known asthma researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Based upon collaborative work by Busse and Davidson that established the neural circuitry activated by asthma-relevant emotional stimuli that predicts inflammatory response in asthmatics, we propose to examine the impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on altering the neural signals and inflammatory response in the lung in a group of asthmatics. The third project will be focused on sleep and directed by Giulio Tononi. This project will extend our previous findings by examining whether the increase in gamma oscillations during NREM sleep in meditators is associated with changes in mental content during sleep. In addition, relations between sleep and waking EEG and between sleep EEG changes and waking performance on cognitive and attentional measures, and experience sampling measures, will be studied. Each of these projects will be conducted with the identical group of participants recruited through our Core that will include those randomized assigned to MBSR, the active comparison intervention we explicitly developed to test against MBSR~the Health Enhancement Program (HEP)~or a wait list (WL), as well as Long-Term Meditators (LTMs). We believe that the understanding of the mechanisms by which meditation produces changes in behavioral and biological processes will be dramatically advanced through the work of this CERC.

Public Health Relevance

Meditation is widely used throughout the United States to improve well-being and to help relieve suffering associated with many diseases, yet there is preciously little understanding of how meditation works. In this CERC, we propose to extend the research we began during the previous grant period that seeks to understand the neural bases and biological and behavioral correlates of two different forms of meditation. This research will shed on the mechanisms by which meditation exerts its effects.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1)
Program Officer
Weber, Wendy J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Wisconsin Madison
Graduate Schools
United States
Zip Code
Sprecher, Kate E; Riedner, Brady A; Smith, Richard F et al. (2016) High Resolution Topography of Age-Related Changes in Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Electroencephalography. PLoS One 11:e0149770
Rosenkranz, Melissa A; Lutz, Antoine; Perlman, David M et al. (2016) Reduced stress and inflammatory responsiveness in experienced meditators compared to a matched healthy control group. Psychoneuroendocrinology 68:117-25
Davidson, Richard J (2016) Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and the Prevention of Depressive Relapse: Measures, Mechanisms, and Mediators. JAMA Psychiatry 73:547-8
Dentico, Daniela; Ferrarelli, Fabio; Riedner, Brady A et al. (2016) Short Meditation Trainings Enhance Non-REM Sleep Low-Frequency Oscillations. PLoS One 11:e0148961
Goldberg, Simon B; Wielgosz, Joseph; Dahl, Cortland et al. (2016) Does the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire measure what we think it does? Construct validity evidence from an active controlled randomized clinical trial. Psychol Assess 28:1009-14
Dahl, Cortland J; Lutz, Antoine; Davidson, Richard J (2016) Cognitive Processes Are Central in Compassion Meditation. Trends Cogn Sci 20:161-2
Riedner, Brady A; Goldstein, Michael R; Plante, David T et al. (2016) Regional Patterns of Elevated Alpha and High-Frequency Electroencephalographic Activity during Nonrapid Eye Movement Sleep in Chronic Insomnia: A Pilot Study. Sleep 39:801-12
Kruis, Ayla; Slagter, Heleen A; Bachhuber, David R W et al. (2016) Effects of meditation practice on spontaneous eyeblink rate. Psychophysiology 53:749-58
Wielgosz, Joseph; Schuyler, Brianna S; Lutz, Antoine et al. (2016) Long-term mindfulness training is associated with reliable differences in resting respiration rate. Sci Rep 6:27533
Weng, Helen Y; Fox, Andrew S; Hessenthaler, Heather C et al. (2015) The Role of Compassion in Altruistic Helping and Punishment Behavior. PLoS One 10:e0143794

Showing the most recent 10 out of 47 publications