Compassion’s effect on the mind

A few months ago, I read about a study involving brain scan images of monks who practiced meditation on compassion, where the results showed increased higher-order cognitive skills. While looking for that article, I found another article published just this last month, describing similar results found when using fMRI scanning technology. In this article, the study being described involved a group people without any previous meditation training, half of which trained in meditation on compassion, and half refrained from meditation.
I must also say that I have greatly enjoyed playing the singing bowl with the classes. I can’t describe the feeling I get when the class (and parents 🙂 ) are concentrating on the sounds, and it has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day. I want to share this with our students, and I would love if any parents wanted to join their child in playing the bowl before class.
Read an excerpt below and link to the original article.

Read the complete article at

Published March 25 in the Public Library of Science One, the study was the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to indicate that positive emotions such as loving-kindness and compassion can be learned in the same way as playing a musical instrument or being proficient in a sport. The scans revealed that brain circuits used to detect emotions and feelings were dramatically changed in subjects who had extensive experience practicing compassion meditation.

The research suggests that individuals — from children who may engage in bullying to people prone to recurring depression — and society in general could benefit from such meditative practices, says study director Richard Davidson, professor of psychiatry and psychology at UW-Madison and an expert on imaging the effects of meditation. Davidson and UW-Madison associate scientist Antoine Lutz were co-principal investigators on the project.

If you feel like leaving a comment about how compassion has affected your life at some point, we would love to hear about it.

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