Richard Davidson

Richard Davidson

Richard J. Davidson is a scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his B.A. in Psychology from New York University (NYU; The Heights Campus), and his Ph.D. in Personality, Psychopathology, and Psychophysiology from Harvard University.

Currently Director for the [ Laboratory of Affective Neuroscience] as well as the [ Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior] , both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his research is focused on cortical and subcortical substrates of emotion and affective disorders, including depression and anxiety. Participants in imaging experiments include normal adults and young children, and those with, or at risk for, affective and anxiety disorders. Techniques used include quantitative electrophysiology, positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to make inferences about patterns of regional brain function. A major focus of his current work is on interactions between prefrontal cortex and the amygdala in the regulation of emotion in both normal subjects and patients with affective and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Davidson hopes to help get out the message that based on what we know about the plasticity of the brain, we can think of things like happiness and compassion as skills that are no different from learning to play a musical instrument or learning golf or tennis.Fact|date=July 2007 Like any skill, it requires practice and time but because we know that the brain is built to change in response to experience, it is possible to train a mind to be happy.Fact|date=July 2007

Davidson has long maintained his own daily meditation practice, and continues to communicate regularly with the Dalai Lama.Fact|date=July 2007

Dr. Davidson and his collaborators have used rhesus monkeys as models of human neurophysiology and emotional response since 1992 when he and fellow UW-Madison researchers Ned H. Kalin and Steven E. Shelton published “Lateralized effects of diazepam on frontal brain electrical asymmetries in rhesus monkeys.” (1992, "Biological Psychiatry") In 2007, Drs Kalin, Shelton & Davidson reported that experimental lesions of adolescent rhesus monkeys' orbitofrontal cortex resulted in "significantly decreased threat-induced freezing and marginally decreased fearful responses to a snake." (2007, "Biological Psychiatry".)

A longtime friend of the Dalai Lama, some of his work involves research on the brain as it relates to meditation.

Dr. Davidson's work with human subjects has been covered several times by the "New York Times".

"Time" magazine named Dr. Davidson one of the world's top 100 most influential people in a 2006 issue.

Dr. Davidson is currently on the Editorial Board of "Greater Good Magazine", published by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Davidson's contributions include the interpretation of scientific research into the roots of compassion,Fact|date=July 2007 altruism,Fact|date=July 2007 and peaceful human relationships.Fact|date=July 2007

Research links

* Meditation Training Affects Distribution of Brain Resources, [ University of Wisconsin, Madison]
* Well-being and affective style: neural substrates and biobehavioural correlates []
* Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation [ University of Wisconsin, Madison]

Recent publications

* Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation [ ]
* Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise []
* Glucose metabolic changes in the prefrontal cortex are associated with HPA axis response to a psychosocial stressor [ ]
* Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation [ [ IEEE Xplore# Wrapper Result ] ]


External links

* Contact Details & Academic Bibliography []
* Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience []
* Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging & Behavior []
* Buddha on the Brain - "Wired Magazine" []
* A Dialogue [] with Daniel Goleman
* Brain Storm: Richard Davidson wants you to free your will, change your brain, and take a journey to the center of your mind (a profile) []
* Dr. Davidson in "Time" magazine [,9171,1187248,00.html]
* Dr. Davidson in "The New York Times" []
* Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. The role of the central nucleus of the amygdala in mediating fear and anxiety in the primate. "J Neurosci". 2004 []
* Dr. Davidson's editorial work in Greater Good Magazine []
* Kalin NH, Shelton SE, Davidson RJ. Role of the Primate Orbitofrontal Cortex in Mediating Anxious Temperament. "Biol Psychiatry". 2007 []
* Video of Dr. Davidson's lecture "Implications of Scientific Research on Meditation for Spiritual Care" at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2007 []

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