Meditation on the brain​​

More than 500 people assembled in Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis on March 5 to hear renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson, PhD, deliver the annual Witherspoon Memorial Lecture on Religion and Science.

During his talk, “Change Your Brain by Transforming Your Mind,” he explained the science behind his findings on the positive impact of contemplative practices such as meditation on brain activity.

After the presentation, people gathered in the Danforth University Center’s Goldberg Formal Lounge for a reception and book signing.

Davidson is the Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and director of both the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, all at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With the encouragement of the Dalai Lama, he established the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.

Davidson also gave a department colloquium March 6 on “Order and Disorder in the Emotional Brain.” Both lectures were recorded and soon will be available on the Assembly Series website.

(From left) Beata Grant, PhD, professor of Chinese language and literature and director of the Religious Studies program, all in Arts & Sciences, and Randall Larsen, PhD, the William R. Stuckenberg Professor of Human Values and Moral Development and chair of psychology, also in Arts & Sciences, visit with Davidson in the Danforth University Center after his lecture. (Credit: Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos)