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>> ALLEN: Hi everybody. Welcome. Today, I'm here-- my name is Peter Allen. I'm the Director
of Google University and I'd like to introduce Philippe Goldin. Philippe, just a moment aback,
his background is a Postdoctoral Researcher. Philippe Goldin is a Postdoctoral Researcher
in clinically applied Affective Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at Stanford.
Hold a PhD in clinical psychology from Rectors. He also spent six years in India and Nepal
studying languages, Buddhist Philosophy and Debate, which means that he can prove you
wrong in a nonviolent way in languages that you don't even understand. Philippe is currently
doing clinical research funded by the NIH in three areas. And here I have to read because
otherwise, I'll say it all wrong. Neuroimaging Investigations of Cognitive Effective Mechanisms
in Healthy Adults and Individuals with various forms of Psychopathology. The Effective Mind
fullness Meditation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Neural Substrates of Emotion and
Attention Regulation. And the Effect of Child Parent Mindfulness Meditation Training. The
question is, "Why does this matter?" Philippe and his colleagues are working on understanding
how meditation affects the brain. And I can think of at least four implications for this.
One is that meditation is moving out of the realm of faith-based practice into the realm
of recognized science. Two, as this research is better accepted, more people will practice
and benefit from meditation. Three, you will be able to submit cost of your Zafu and Zabuton
as medical expenses, although not this year. And fourth implication, if you haven't already,
you should immediately go to go/siy and sign up for the next round of Search Inside Yourself,
Google's own mindfulness-based emotional intelligence class. So without further ado, please take
a deep breath, focus, and join me in welcoming Philippe Goldin whose talk today is entitled
the Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation.
>> GOLDIN: Wow! Thank you so much. That was a beautiful introduction. So, without further
a do, just thank you very much for the opportunity to be here, and to share some ideas and open
questions and suggestions, and well, let's start. So today I'm going to speak briefly
a little bit about Attention, Mindfulness and Brain Systems, some cutting edge research
where there's a huge amount of interest, both from a clinical side, because I'm trained
as a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and also Neuroscience. I'm also trained as
a Neuroscientist. But how--what really--how does the brain work, how is it plastic, how
is it influenced by different types of training? I'm only here in front of you because there
are hundreds of people who've influenced me, some of whom are here, people who've taught
me brain imaging, how to sit with patients, how to become a husband, how to practice meditation
and so forth. So really, I'm here, but there's hundreds of other people who really, through
their kindness, that's why I can stand here in front of you. So, in brief, I'm going to
speak a little bit about Mindfulness Meditation, one particular type of meditation practice,
and then look at a clinical application: how might one type of practice, Mindful Based
Stress Reduction, be used as a clinical intervention for adults suffering from Social Phobia or
Social Anxiety Disorder? There are many types of mediation practice. And that's something
that's very important. The word gome in Tibetan, bavna in Sanskrit, really refers to cultivating
a certain quality of mind. So its practices that help us cultivate a quality and there
are many ways to do that. So there's--just simply put, there are some classes of meditation
practices that really have to do with harnessing attention, focusing and developing concentration.
So, for example, breath, body, focused meditation, visualizing an image, a mantra, or listening
to a sound, or certain object list open field. These are different kinds of meditation practices
that they have different types of results. Then there's also linguistic, analytic linguistic
or reasoning, as exemplified by monks doing analytic debate which I did when I was I India
in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and it's really, really fun. And this here could be taking
a topic like the precious human rebirth; working here at Google, why is that such an amazing
thing; the death meditation, generating love and kindness, these would all be objects of
analytic thinking, linguistic, logic types of meditation. And then, the gem of all, the
actual medicine, well, one form of medicine is meditation on emptiness, in Sanskrit, shunyata.
And this has to do with dissolving a mistake in view of how I exist, how we exist, and
transforming that into a view of how one exists that is a lot more fluid and healthy. So that's
another form of meditation practice that is really these two build up to doing this. So,
in the field of clinical interventions, clinical psychology, etcetera, there's a huge, huge
bursting interest in applying eastern concepts, eastern meditation practices, acceptance,
mindfulness, into western clinical practices, interventions. So for example, one of the
most popular Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, I believe you had John Kabat-Zinn here recently.
So this is really fascinating because he took people who were basically coming out of pain
clinics in UMass who the doctors were like "Look, we've done surgery, we've drugged them
up with lots of medications, we've done everything we can, we're tired of them, you take them."
And he basically said "Okay, I'll do it." And he caught a fad and created this program
"Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction" to help people with chronic, physical and emotional
pain, 30 years ago. Next year it'll be 30 years. So he's infiltrated the medical system
in a away that no one else has done to make it legitimate, to bring techniques, to help
people deal with themselves in a way that's really concrete, fundamental. Beautiful. Another
derivative that's really fascinating is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, literally a hybrid
of one of the best forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy and Mindfulness Meditation,
specifically as a treatment to prevent relapse into major depression. So this is to help
people who have three or more previous major depressive episodes, and helping them to prevent
relapse into the subsequent depressive episode. So this has been very, very efficacious and
wonderful clinical trials across three different study--three different continents. Another
form is Dialectic Behavior Therapy which specifically incorporates Mindfulness Meditation as one
of the techniques to help people primarily with borderline personality disorder, but
it's been extended to eating disorders as well. And then acceptance and commitment therapy
is another kind of clinical practice that is explicitly incorporating mindfulness and
Buddhist's ideas without talking about Buddhism at all. So these are just some examples of
how it's being incorporated in clinical practices right now. What I'm going to focus on for
today is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction as a type of intervention. First question
is what is that? So it consist of three different components: formal meditation practice, breath
focused, body scan of sensations, being able to shift attention volitionally from different
sensory modalities, generating compassion, loving, kindness state of mind, and then there's
informal meditation practice which is just as important as the formal sitting which is
10, 15, 20 times per day, just for even one breathe. So you can do it even right now,
just shift your attention to your own breathe just for one cycle, to breathing in and breathing
out. So we ask people to do this anytime, anywhere, any situation, multiple times a
day to build the muscle of attention, to generate the habit of checking in, dropping in. Oops!
And then the third component is Hatha yoga, physical stretching which is also a way of
getting into the body, noticing sensation. So this is the program, so to speak, that
we used for adults with social anxiety. Mindfulness has been shown over the past 30 years across
numerous clinical studies to be very effective and robust for reducing stress, pain, anxiety
and depressive symptoms overall. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy has been shown to
be excellent as a relapse prevention, not a treatment for major depression, but a treatment
to help prevent the next depressive episode. What is mindfulness? As defined by John Kabat-Zinn,
paying attention in a particular way. From the psychological side, what we think about
that is, attention has many components. Here, we're focusing on the ability to alert, place
your attention on an object. The ability, when the mind becomes distracted, to reorient,
the ability to have a specific goal and to use top down or executive control to stay
on target. All kinds of qualities that are needed to get anything done. Doing this on
purpose, meaning I have an intention, a motivation why I'm engaging in this training of my attention.
Doing it in the present moment, meaning avoiding, avoiding now. So it's experiential approach.
Most of our life is about avoiding, avoidance of things that are not pleasant. Here, this
is really bringing a sense of equanimity to what's changing from moment to moment to moment
without pushing away things that I don't like, pulling in things that I do like. Embracing
anything, everything. So it's experiential approach, not easy to do. In trying to do
this non-judgmentally, meaning bringing, instead of an attitude of self-deprecation "I really
suck at this. I'm not good at this. I'll never learn how to meditate. I can't stand my mind."
Instead, bringing an idea of acceptance, curiosity, openness, about what is happening in my mind,
my mental experience, my brain. Here's a quick process model. The intention could be simply,
"I want to reduce my stress. I want to reduce the symptoms of anxiety." It could be that
"I want to increase well-being." Or could even be used as self-exploration and possibly
even enlightenment, if that's what you're interested in. So for example, you could follow
the breath and you're trying to develop attention, concentration and open awareness, calm, flow,
for example. But inevitably, the mind becomes distracted, often within seconds. In that
moment, you--either can begin to ruminate, spin. I talked about people going into a soap
opera mode for hours or minutes or days at a time, fantasizing, dozing. These are all
forms of distraction. But then inevitably, what has to happen with awareness is to redirect,
reorient attention and to do this without sub-judgment but in fact, doing it with kindness
and curiosity. And in fact, it's when the mind is distracted and when it becomes aware
and brings it back, that's a key moment. That's actually where a lot of learning takes place.
Mindfulness consists of, in this Japanese calligraphy, awareness, heart, mind. And I
think that's telling, trying to bring those qualities together. What mindfulness is not,
is equally important to consider. It's not distraction, and I'll show you some data,
shortly. It's not suppression of emotional experience or suppressing showing one's emotion.
That is not mindfulness. It's not avoidance. It's not ruminating or spinning on something
positive or negative, it's not that. And it's not cognitive reappraisal or thinking in a
way to change the meaning of something that's going on. It's not a logic thinking language
process. Some of the potential mechanisms for mindfulness has to do with decentering,
disidentifying from the contents of mind. So as I have thoughts, sensations, images,
memories, those are events that are occurring but they're not me. So this is decentering
or disidentifying. Another possible mechanism is developing attentional focus, harnessing
the ability to place and maintain attention. Regulation of emotion. Obviously as one trains,
this can harness your attention, things that would normally distract or evoke emotional
off-balance will occur at less and less frequently. Changing in how we view our self arises inevitably,
implicitly, through doing this kind of practice. And then, it's also been thought that negative
self-focused spinning or ruminating is decreased. So, this is a study that my wife and I did
awhile ago where literally, just in a sample of people with mixed anxiety depression; we
found that, compared to a wait-list control, no change. We found that people with mind--who
did the mindfulness course, actually showed a significant reduction, post mindfulness-training,
compared to a wait-list. In negative--I'm sorry.
>> What's a wait-list? >> GOLDIN: A wait-list control is people were
randomized either to waiting several months before they started the mindfulness class
versus people who got it right away. So this is mixed--these are people with mixed anxiety
depression and what you see is that there's, from pre to post mindfulness-training, a reduction.
But more importantly, the amount of meditation that people practiced during the two and a
half months, predicted significantly, 50% reduction in rumination.
>> [INDISTINCT] >> GOLDIN: Yes. Good point. So this is actually--people
with the mindfulness--for some reason, the people who were assigned to the mindfulness
group, reported greater rumination at baseline. So, there way to--there are statistical ways
of dealing with that, but that's also why we need multiple studies than you average
over them and then those things like that hopefully drop out. Those same question, yeah,
yeah. So they were more elevated than negative rumination, the sample at baseline. Giving
his talk. So I'm sure that everyone here at Google, almost everyone, probably has to do--to
be evaluated on performance. The most fearful, feared, social performance activity in the
world is for public speaking. Fortunately I don't have that, but a lot of people do.
And not only is it fearful, maybe in the moment, when somebody has to present in front of peers
or managers or bosses or CEOs, but people will ruminate, it was what were talking over
lunch, some people will actually--in my [INDISTINCT] with me for two weeks, before talk has to
be given. Negative, you know, anxiety, diarrhea, fear, sleeplessness. So this is something
that a lot of people experience. So this is the most fearful social performance thing,
but there are many, many others as well. So what is social anxiety? Well, it has a huge
lifetime prevalence in North America. About 12% of adults in North America will meet criteria
for social phobia or social anxiety disorder. It's the third most common psychiatric condition
after major depression and alcohol substance abuse. Third most common. It has a very early
age of onset. Eighty percent of cases of social anxiety begin before the age of 18. In fact
it's the model time of onset is really about age 10, 11, 12. And it's often undiagnosed,
untreated, or even if somebody shows up treatment for anxiety, the clinicians usually don't
ask about social anxiety. So it's usually occurs early and it usually precedes the subsequent
development of major depression, substance abuse, and other anxiety disorders. The other
very important thing about social anxiety in its early age of onset is that, it's associated
with the highest high school drop-out rate of all of the anxiety disorders: OCD, panic,
generalized anxiety, agoraphobia, etc, etc. So this is really why people are interested
in going younger, younger, younger. So, what is social anxiety from the first person experience?
So we--for all of our participants, we ask them to identify four painful social situations.
This client offered the following: At a job I had about 6 years ago, I was supposed to
introduce myself to a group of 5 or 6 new employees. The President of the company was
speaking first, and then I was supposed to say a few words. My anxiety grew to such a
heightened level right before I had to get up to speak, that I needed to leave the room
and the building. I had to take a walk for about a half an hour before I even got up
the courage to go back into the building and to admit to my manager what I had done and
how I had failed. So we actually use these scripts, autobiographical scripts, as stimuli
in our brain imaging studies, induction of a specific painful social memory. This is
about as real as it gets. Then we also ask people with respect to that situation, your
own situation, what are the automatic negative self-beliefs that arise? This client offered:
What's wrong with me? Why do I get so nervous? I'm going to get fired for not being able
to do this. The President must think that I'm an idiot and wonder why they hired me
if I can't even speak to a few people. If I get up there, I'm going to blush and either
throw up or pass out. So mental tripping, cognitive distortions, fear of physiological
arousal that I'm not gonna be able to control. So, one model of social anxiety, a cognitive
model says the following: When a person has social anxiety, is in a social situation,
it triggers a distorted view of the self, the social self "I'm not good enough as I
am. I'm going to screw up." This means the situation is a place we're evaluated as "This
is a dangerous place for me. This is threatening to myself." And then there's a very rapid
attentional shift to self-focused attention. So much so that in studies were you have other
people to say, "Hey, no you're doing fine. You're doing fine." The person is so internally
aware, internally driven; they don't process external information which, of course, reinforces
the disorder. And this leads to safety behaviors, not showing up to work, not making eye contact,
not speaking up, or being assertive when one needs to be, for example. Not going to parties,
bodily or somatic and concerns and problems, diarrhea, etcetera, cognitive problems, negative
thoughts, etc. Here, I'm going to be focusing on attention as one way to probe the brain
in people with social anxiety and how mindfulness might modify the neural basis of attention.
So the big question here is integration. Can we take incredible, beautiful, elegant technology
the West has to offer which is to basically go under the skull noninvasively and image
the brain while it's doing what it does? And ancient wisdom traditions of methods that
has been used for 3000 years of how to work with the mind; ways to actually identify and
begin to modulate mental patterns. Can we integrate this? A full description of a phenomena
would really entail all of these levels of granularity in my library looking at genetic
predispositions to people who have different anxiety disorders, to who will benefit from
cognitive therapy, from mindfulness, from medications, how this influences molecules,
neurons, neural circuits, and in cognition, emotion behavior. This will be a full explanation.
Here, today I'm just focusing on brain and cognition emotion. So we use the MRI, Magnetic
Resonance Imaging, which essentially is a huge magnet. Beautiful machine. Here's a picture,
this one is the Dalai Lama, Richard Davidson, a researcher from Madison showing His Holiness,
the Dalia Lama, how this works. And I'm going to give you a one slide primer on what is
the dependent variable in FMRI, Funtional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. You're lying in
the scanner on your back, like the woman you saw a moment ago, and then what I do is I
present you with a negative belief. "People think I'm socially incompetent," you read
that. This triggers firing in specifics populations of neurons, having to do with language processing,
self reflection that activate neural circuits, brain systems, not just specific areas but
circuitry. That then says, "Hey, the neurons are firing, please send more oxygenated hemoglobin,
more cerebral blood volume, cerebral blood flow to the areas where neurons are firing.
Bring more oxygen; bring more glucose because the neurons are consuming energy." And then
we, through a lot of signal processing and statistical modeling, try to infer what are
the parts of the brain that are active when a person is spinning on a negative self believe?
So it's a whole series of processes--steps, but we can do this. What are the possible
brain bases of the psychological mechanisms that mindfulness may attach? Well, attention,
emotion regulation, self view. Wonderful work by Merry Philips, Helen Mayburg, and lots
of neuroscientists are beginning to delineate where does emotional reactivity occur in the
brain and emotion regulation? So in the context of a social situation that's feared, this
could actually activate very quickly, fear, arousal, anxiety. So we know that roughly,
this is very condensed, but roughly there's the limbic and paralimbic system in which
there's a whole set of brain regions that detect what's personally salient and even
generate emotional reactivity. This sends a signal, bottom-up signal, "This is threatening
to me. This is dangerous to me." And it actually recruits activity in regulatory systems, many
of which and instantiated in the prefrontal cortex parietal that says "Please select some
strategies and engage in top-down regulation to either increase or decrease the current
emotional state." So we are literally doing this consciously, non-consciously in our brain
all the time. And these regulatory practices often are mediated by the way that we view
our self and our skillfulness or lack of skillfulness in language: How we think, how we interpret,
how we view our self. So here's just one task, for example, that we use. We ask people--we
present people with their own painful autobiographical social situations, like the one I read earlier,
then we have to present one negative belief at a time and have people spin on their own
negative belief about themselves in that painful situation. Then we ask them to provide a rating
and then we train them to implement some kind of emotion regulation strategy. Attention
focusing, here, that was operationalized as "When a cue comes on above your negative belief,
please shift your attention to the physical sensation at the tip of the nose of the breath
moving in and moving out." Physical subtle sensation, shifting attention. We also have
an attention distraction condition as a control where we ask people a pair of three digit
number and say count backwards by one from a three digit number, 168,167 and so forth.
Attention distraction. And then thirdly, cognitive reappraisal. Think in a way to reinterpret
the meaning of the belief, to make it less toxic for yourself. Three different strategies.
There are many more than this. We only look at these three. So, cutting to the chase,
we found that post mindfulness training, post-MBSR, we found that all three forms of emotion regulation,
the ability to volitionally work with your psychology brain to down regulate negative
emotional reactivity. We found that the red bars are ratings of--subjective ratings in
the scanner of negative emotion to the negative beliefs. The blue bars are that same rating
after doing self-talk or cognitive regulation, after doing attentional focus, and after doing
distraction. All three methods were more efficacious after doing this two-month training in mindfulness
meditation. Greater skill in being able to identify emotions and to skillfully regulate
them as needed. Just to go into a little more detail, attention is a very limited resource.
We all know that. It's also that attention itself is not a unitary thing, but actually
has many components. So, three components here. Michael Posner is the superstar person
in the field of attention. He's done incredible work on all levels, looking at from genetics
to training kids, in attention abilities. And here, they--he and his former student
who's a professor at [INDISTINCT], they've developed a wonderful computer task that assesses
three components; there are many more, but only three components of attention. Alerting,
meaning the ability to sustain your vigilance on an object, to focus on an object. So your
coding, can you keep your mind right on the object? You're meditating on the breath; can
I keep my mind right on the breath? Reorienting, when the mind becomes distracted, can I switch
or shift my attention back to the object of meditation, back to the object of the work
that I'm doing? Third is Executive Control, selectively attending to I want to focus on,
actively inhibiting things that are task-irrelevant. This is considered executive functioning,
or cognitive control, or top-down control of attention. These three, from alerting,
to reorienting, to executive, literally develop in the brain over the first two decades of
life progressively. Such that kids really develop executive--begin to develop executive
control in their teens. So there's literally a developmental trajectory of these abilities
in the mind brain. These three components are instantiated in the brain in a distributed
network of brain regions which is really wonderful because that means we can probe the effective
attention training on the neural substrates of these components of attention. So, do you
find enhanced or decreased activity when people are more distracted, when they're more focused,
when they've trained the muscle of attention, or different ages, or on or off coffee, for
example. Cutting to the chase here, the regions that are in these colorful circles are regions
that we found to be the parts of the brain that were more active, that make up parts
of this attention network from pre to post mindfulness training, in this case, 15 adults
with social anxiety. So, meaning that, people who, these sociophobics, who engaged in the
mindfulness mediation training, when challenged to regulate their attention, from pre to post
training, they showed increased neural activity as well as behavioral indices of the ability
to regulate their attention. Fifteen is very small, so this was the basis for getting an
NIH grant and now we're doing this with 60 people. Also randomizing people to mindfulness
based stress reduction and exercise wellness program based stress reduction, because exercise
has been shown in some cases for people with certain kinds of anxiety disorders, to be
just as efficacious as some kinds of therapy. So it becomes important to delineate group
effect, exercise versus not exercise, attention training versus physical motivational training,
to really delineate what are the--how do brain systems change. What--how are different clinical
interventions better or worse with different kinds of anxiety disorders. So this was very
promising that we literally saw neural evidence along with converging behavioral evidence
of attention training. To look at the amygdala, in this case, the right dorsal medulla, this
is a brain region that it's very popular because when people are experiencing emotion, this
is an area that becomes very active. So, when spinning on the negative self-beliefs "I'm
not good enough. People don't like me," we found very strong amygdala activity. And I
want to show you what happens during these conditions: Spinning on my own negative belief,
shifting my attention to the breath, healthy controls, some reactivity, some down regulation.
Sociophobics at baseline: Delayed but then a rapid increase and then subsequent decrease
in amygdala response during spinning on negative beliefs. So it takes some time to bellow up
spinning on the belief and amygdale, the brain, this part of the brain, is literally reacting
to this negative beliefs. Now, this is Pre and Post. The black is Pre, the same people,
Pre mindfulness straining. Orange is post. And there are few things that I want to point
out. First, here, there's an initial burst in the people after the mindfulness training
in this amygdaly reactivity when spinning on beliefs. One of the things that happen
when you slow down and when you become more aware of body, thoughts, emotions, is that
you become more aware. That's not always pleasant. But that's not--the goal is not to remove
what's unpleasant. It's to be more aware. So, one way to interpret this initial burst,
is that people, in this case the sociophobics, where actually more aware of their emotional
reactivity when they were confronted with their own negative beliefs, greater emotional
awareness. But notice that then it quickly dropped. Notice that this occurred before
the instruction to shift their attention to the breath, what was initially a cued effortful
process to shift attention to the breath. After two and a half months, these people
shift to the left and start to implement the attention regulation automatically, perhaps
with awareness, perhaps not. Meaning, that what was an effortful practice becomes automatized.
>> Whatever this means, being valued the [INDISTINCT] population?
>> GOLDIN: Yeah. This is--these are across the fit--in this case, the fifteen adults
with social phobia and themselves two and a half months later in the same exact task.
>> Do you have any sense, sorry, in [INDISTINCT]... >> GOLDIN: No, go ahead.
>> ...like of a, like error bars, so we can tell...
>> GOLDIN: Yeah. >> ...I can't tell whether, you know, whether
this squiggle is just noise or whether that's actually meaningful.
>> GOLDIN: Yeah. That's a good question. So, the fMRI signal--there are many ways to do
signal processing and fMRI brain reactive--brain neuro response tends to be quite noisy. So
we do a lot of stuff and the only place where it was significant, the only place where you
see a significant drop--significances here in the sociophobics compared to themselves
baseline, post MBSR, where you see this reduction. That's the only where it's significant. Of
course it's only fifteen subject which is why this was pilot data for 60 where your
going to have more power because that's--in psychology, fifteen is a small sample size.
>> It may not be [INDISTINCT] but what do you--how do you interpret the gap at the end
of the chart were the trend reverses? >> GOLDIN: Yeah. Its miles significantly different
and actually, you know, I don't have an interpretation for the end of this. In fact, these are each
12 seconds so realistically, another way to do this, and we're trying it out, is to makes
this two minutes long. Because when you think about reactivity to something, you're in the
hallways, you say "hello" to Suzie and Suzie doesn't look at you, or Suzie--Suzie's absorbed
to something and is not really attending to you, the reactivity--there's an immediate
reactivity, there might be a quelling, and then there's a continuing burst as we spin
or cascade on "What's up with Suzie?" Like, "Why isn't she paying attention?" "Why is
she dishing me?" So, real samples would be much longer than just 12 and 12 seconds. So
we're actually exploring that now, doing two minute--several two minute samples which I
think is probably more ecologically valid but we have to start somewhere. Also self
view I just wanted to give just a little bit here because this is something that's really
exciting which until recently no neuroscientist would ever touch. Now there's a burst of interest
in "Can we not find the self?" That's not the enterprise. Because there is no--there
is no central brain region of self, but there are different ways of manipulating how a person
views themselves and you can see that in the brain. So here, here's one version of the
self Analytic Narrative View of myself. This is past-future oriented: How is Philippe yesterday?
How is Philippe going to be tomorrow? Its conceptual, it's a fixed concept and it's
associated with ruminating on the self. It's a very conceptual linguistic-based view of
self. In contrast, there's another version of this way of relating to the self which
is really more experiential. Present-moment focused which is why this is interesting for
mindfulness, continuously changing experience of the self. Not a fixed concept. A reduced
over generalize memory which actually mean is been related to reduction and depression
and anxiety. So, in terms of creativity, given that this is a very creative place, reading
some--in preparation, I was reading some stuff on creativity, the extent to which a person
has a fixed view of themselves and their abilities, they perform at that level. They extend to
which a person has a more fluid sense of self, less caught up in fixed conceptual notion.
That person, literally in experimental studies, can make associations that are more long,
more interesting. They can bring things together that normally are not very closely associated;
they have less abstraction in thinking more creatively. If you have self, I think is at
the basis of that kind of the intellectual creativity and neuroscience are just beginning.
It's actually hard to publish neuroscience of self studies, but there's an interest right
now. So in terms of this two, more analytic, more experiential, more embodied sense of
self, and what we find is there's--across many, many self studies, you see there's this
set of three brain regions that come up all the time. These are midline structures: Medial
prefrontal cortex, dorslal medial prefrontal cortex and posterior singulet. These three
show up all the time. In this particular study, we found out in controls and also sociophobic
which is very promising. So, this is a very robust when you're doing self-focused attention.
Cutting to the chase, what we found here is, in the sociophobic, post mindfulness training,
we found significant reduction in neural react--neural response from pre to post in brain regions
having to do with linguistic processing, thinking to your self--about yourself. Cognitive regulation
here, more this--reduction in metacognitive awareness, parts of the brain and how to maintain
a concept of self are reduced. And medial prefrontal, place where self-focused attention
occurs--tends to occur, also went down. Reduction in thinking, maintaining a concept of self
and self-focused attention dropped in the people who did the mindfulness class. So they
had a less of this conceptual narrative fixed concept, and had more of an embodied self.
And this is--the hot colors here indicating greater attention, actually. So in summary,
I hope that I've shown you, is that for people who completed the mindfulness class, in the
context of a threat stimulus, personally, it is, sort of syncratic negative self-beliefs,
reduction in emotional reactivity, and increase in the ability to apply different regulations
strategies, be they cognitive or attention, and decreases in conceptual sense of self
and use of language in the context of ones own negative self-beliefs. Meditation is associated
with changes in the neural bases of attention regulation, shift from conceptual experiential
self and, I didn't show it here, but we're now looking at neural synchrony across brain
regions, are they more connected, integrated in temporal analysis in people who have done
more and more meditation practice. Thank you for your attention. So there are many other
studies that we're doing, etcetera. But I'm more interested in what you think, and questions
you have, maybe things from your own experience or what are some of the implications? Where
would you push, pull, drive is going to work? Do you have a microphone?
>> Here. >> GOLDIN: For people who are remote somewhere,
sir. >> Yeah, one of your slides cited as an aspect
of the more conceptual notion of self over generalized memory, could you say a little
more about that? >> GOLDIN: Yeah. In people with, specifically
with people with depression, there tends to be what's called over generalized memory.
So when you ask people who are in a current repressive state to think back about a situation,
they tend to color their memory of past situation as "Oh, I was always sad. Things always suck."
They actually lose--women in current depression, may lose memory for details and they over
generalize into, kind of swats of memory and inferences, as opposed to remembering details
for specific events. And that's been shown prospectively. You take me when I'm fine,
current happy state, depressed state, "Philippe what happened three weeks ago, six weeks ago,
nine weeks ago," and you've recorded those. I over generalize and I lose specificity over
generalized memory which is problematic when you run to a person and say "Yeah, you were
sad," or "this occurred but you," you know, they'll hear the details of how you responded
and your were effective, people tend to forget that.
>> I'm curious, how much of this works cross culturally? Like for example, in Japan people
get up and sing in front of each other where, that must be very common, right?
>> GOLDIN: Yes. Thank you so much. I did not ask him to ask that. Social anxiety in particular,
manifests differently. Okay. So here we go, west--no but we are very mixed culture right
here. But in the United States, generally it's the cowboy culture: rough, tough, strong,
individualistic. People with social anxiety have a very poor self-esteem and they're very
worried that--about negative evaluations by others of the self. Japan, there's another
form of social anxiety where the fear is not about me, but other people, you know, other
people having a negative evaluation of me. The fear is that "I'm going to do something
in public that will embarrass you." And is a very clear, specific form of social anxiety
that is "I'm terrified that I'm going to do something to embarrass you." That is really
culturally influenced. The next question is, so you take people who are from, say, mainland
China. They moved here, then they had children. First generation, they have children, second
generation, when do you begin to see shifts in patterns of psychopathology or shifts in--sub
forms of social anxiety? From landing here, first generation, second generation, cultural
influence infiltrates the view of self, language. For example, in Tibetan language, there's
not a word for self--low self esteem. There is no such word, so much to that at a meeting
with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama; people were like, "Yeah, one of the many things we
have here is low self-esteem. We do everything to buttress up and make everyone think that
we're doing fine, and we don't need your help, and I don't need your help," but in fact that's--we
know that's not the case, whereas, in Tibetan language, there is no such word. Also in Tibetan
language, there is no word for emotion. Destructive, harmful states of mind, no word for emotion
which--think about Greek, you know, Greek, ancient Greek culture, ancient Indian culture.
There is no word for emotion in Tibetan language. >> Just a minor...
>> GOLDIN: Oh, mic, mic. In case somebody wants to hear it.
>> Just a minor comment. Not big. I remember I had a lecture a number of years ago, the
speaker who is a historian from Yale said, "There is no word for "shallow" in French
even though some people might argue that the French invented the concept." So, the fact
that the word doesn't exist doesn't necessarily mean that the concept doesn't exist...
>> GOLDIN: True. >> ...or the problem, even without the concept.
>> GOLDIN: True. But there's recent study that was done in UCLA where they, in healthy
controls, they induced certain emotion, emotional states and then what they did is they had
people label the emotion. The act of labeling ones emotion which is a cognitive method,
right? Already distanced oneself from the emotion state, "Oh, I'm angry." There's an
awareness and there's--just labeling distance from itself. So that is a form of emotion
regulation, just using language in that way. So, in one way, I would go the opposite, can
we actually become more skillful in identifying subtle, subtle, subtle, emotional states?
Be it viscerally [INDISTINCT] cognitively, and then apply a more refined vocabulary to
identify those and label them. So--but it's true, with--even when we don't have a label,
people still experience things, but then they just don't have--there's not a consensus on
a word that I would use to communicate that. >> How long after the MBSR training, did you
measure your subjects? >> GOLDIN: How long... ?
>> After the MBSR training. >> GOLDIN: About a week or two, after completing
the mindfulness program. And--so that would be kind of the immediate effects of having
just competed. What we're doing now, is we're following people for at least a year after
completing therapy. Because this was a good point, learning often occurs, consolidates
overtime, and there's even evidence that two, three, four months later, people who actually
get it, even after completing a course or--even psychotherapy, yeah?
>> You presented the limbic system as a reactive system, but isn't it an also an active system
that seeds negative thoughts and emotions? >> GOLDIN: Say it again because...
>> Isn't it also an active system that seeds things in the cognitive part of the brain?
>> GOLDIN: Oh, not seeds no, yeah. So the limbic--the limbic system is a distributed
set of nodes which has been associated with emotional states and specifically, emotion
detection. So like you watch a disgusting film clip, there's this limbic system, there
are parts of it, like the anterior insula, amygdala that will--when something salient
comes on, it would be more active. So emotion detection, but also when you--when you do
a mood induction, emotion generation. Seeing will not--doesn't occur in the limbic, although...
>> I said seeding. Not seeing. >> GOLDIN: Seeding?
>> Seeding emotions as well as [INDISTINCT]. >> GOLDIN: Oh, seeding, as in generating.
>> Genrating. >> GOLDIN: Yes. So, then also there's generation
of emotion. Not exactly the same set, there's a sub-set of regions like subgenual, anterior
cingulate, and amygdala are associated with generating emotion. When you actually ask
people to--there's a study when you'd ask healthy people to generate sad mood, or people
with current major depression to generate, to enhance the sad mood, there's some reliable
areas that are associated with increasing. And those have actually become targets of
direct brain stimulation studies right now, with surgery, in fact. A little controversial
but, yeah. >> The functions that you mentioned are learned
in childhood, like the executive function and...
>> GOLDIN: Uh-huh. >> ...are some of those better--are there
some that adults can learn better than others? Are there some that the brain development--there's
two point where it's harder to, to change in adult stage as suppose to others?
>> GOLDIN: Yeah. As a general principle, the older--the more that we're alive, the longer
that we're alive, the--in general, there's less plasticity. So much so you can take a
three year old and take out the entire left hemisphere, and all the functions that were
supposedly instantiated in left hemisphere, transfer. There's a beautiful, amazing, I
mean, we human animals are amazing in that functionality can shift across brain matter.
So there even examples of people who are born with only one hemisphere, and only later when
they were teens did they ever get an MRI that showed "Oh my gosh! Hemisphere is gone," and
they seem almost 100% normal. So it's a beautiful plasticity. But as we get older, we become
more rigid. As we become older, cortex becomes thinner, one study that--a cross sectional
study that was done by Sarah Lazar showed that cross sectional, where it's not prospective,
cross sectional, they found that people--longer--people who reported being meditators for more years
had less cortical thinning compared to aged matched people who didn't do any meditation.
So that was really exciting and interesting but its cross sectional, co-relational which
is, you always have to take that with a grain of salt. So having said that, there's all
sorts--there's a huge interest in neuroplasticity right now, but it doesn't seem to be present
in the entire brain, but only portions of it. So there are limits that people have to
train their attention that can--might be constrained by genetic, might be constrained by life experience,
but also are constrained by not having [INDISTINCT]. So, I wouldn't say you can take somebody who
has early stage Alzheimer's and be able to train that away. Not even close. But we can
harness our attention and if you'll sit with somebody who's done a lot, a lot, a lot of
practice, you can feel it. It's--it's palpable. And you can measure it which is important.
Okay. Thank you.
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正念靜坐的認知神經科學 (Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation)

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Kevin Lu 發佈於 2013 年 12 月 31 日
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