Mind & Life podcast

Norm Farb - Meditation and the Brain

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In this episode, Wendy speaks with contemplative researcher Norm Farb. Norm was one of the first people to study how meditation impacts our brains, and his broader work incorporates emotions, body sensations, and present-moment awareness. Their conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his initial research on meditation, neural networks, and modes of self;
  • predictive models of mind;
  • reinforcing vs. updating our model of the world (and implications for political polarization);
  • the default mode network and its role in cognition;
  • how meditation can help shift our habitual patterns;
  • what happens in our minds when we learn to meditate;
  • the concept of mental foraging;
  • interoception and how sensing the body might reduce conceptual processing;
  • depression & interoception, and getting stuck avoiding difficult feelings;
  • the self as the current model of the world;
  • a deeper look at the idea of no-self;
  • the ethics of updating our self model responsibly;
  • localization vs. distribution in the brain;
  • and the state of research on meditation and the brain.

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