The MysWizard blog (which doesn’t exist anymore), has posted an article taken from the Wired magazine, titled "The hot new frontier of neuroscience: meditation!".
The article describes the research done on mediation by one Richard Davidson, who is both a scientist and a spiritual seeker, who started with meditation in the sixties. During his scientific career, Davidson has also researched the effect of meditation on the brain.
In 2002 he had examined the brain waves of an experienced meditator, who was meditating on “unconditional loving-kindness and compassion.” The results showed that the meditator, Mattieu Ricard, produced high amplitude Gamma waves on his EEG output. Gamma waves are around 40Hz and they are indication of a highly focused mind.
The researchers had never seen anything like it. Worried that something might be wrong with their equipment or methods, they brought in more monks, as well as a control group of college students inexperienced in meditation. The monks produced gamma waves that were 30 times as strong as the students’.
Some implications of the results of his research were that:
- Maybe compassion could be exercised like a muscle; with the right training, people could bulk up their empathy.
- It is possible that the brain continues to evolve and be built in the emotional centers, even in adults.
Davidson and his team published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2004.