Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Check out this talk by Daniel Siegel:

I'm watching it for work, since I'll be hosting Dr. Siegel when he comes to visit soon. A few neat things:

* In his description of what the prefrontal cortex does, he sums it up as harmony. I swear I wrote the post yesterday before watching this :)

* The actions of the "middle" PFC are exactly those that meditation (at least in the Buddhist traditions) are meant to develop.

* The anterior insula, which is engaged when mindfully attending to bodily sensations like the breath, is also strongly implicated in empathy. In his experience, teaching people to attend to their breath often incidentally strengthens their empathy, even after short training.

* When describing what functions she'd lost, a woman who'd had an accident damaging her PFC described it as losing her soul (scary, I know). "Soul" and "ghost" are words I sometimes use when describing the feeling present when I'm practicing mindfulness.

If you have an hour to spare, it's a good watch.

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