21-06-2017 | REVIEW
The Neuroscience of Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Alters the Brain and Facilitates Emotion Regulation
Gepubliceerd in: Mindfulness | Uitgave 6/2017Log in om toegang te krijgen
Here we present a survey of the current state of the neuroscience of mindfulness, integrating it into a theoretical framework of emotion regulation and linking research to clinical practice. Findings from the neuroscience of emotion regulation are reviewed, implicating activation in the anterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex, and prefrontal cortex, and deactivation of the amygdala. We then review the nascent literature on the neuroscience of mindfulness, which suggests that similar areas are involved in mindfulness processing. People high in dispositional mindfulness display greater activity in the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and insular cortex and lesser activity in the amygdala than those low in dispositional mindfulness when engaging in various emotionally salient tasks. Similarly, practitioners engaging in intentional mindfulness appear to demonstrate both functional and structural differences from controls in this emotion regulation network, which correlate with behavioral differences in areas ranging from attentional abilities to psychological well-being. We theorize how the neurologic correlates of mindfulness might support the psychologically healthy mindfulness skills of present-moment focus and detachment from self-referential processing. Finally, we address the limitations of the state of this emerging field and suggest areas for future research. Notably, we illustrate a confound in the literature—that research designs rarely disambiguate intentional mindfulness practice from a more intrinsic, dispositional, mindfulness—and propose a terminological framework to rectify this confound in the field.