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A psychophysiology study of sensory processing in meditators

Attending mindfully: A psychophysiology study of sensory processing in meditators

There is growing evidence of the beneficial effects of mindfulness on a range of cognitive functions and mental health.

At the simplest level of explanation, mindfulness may promote well-being through its beneficial effect on emotion regulation by allowing earlier awareness of the sensations associated with (negative) emotional experiences and in turn ‘nipping-in-the-bud’ of maladaptive reactions to them.

The exact cognitive mechanisms underlying positive effects of mindfulness, however, are yet to be empirically shown and may vary according to a particular style/s of practice.

The primary aims of this project are to establish, using startle response models, whether mindfulness, cultivated specifically through ‘attentional training’ practices, is associated with faster and more efficient processing of sensory information. 

The project involves parallel research studies to be conducted in the UK (Brunel University London) and in India (Banaras Hindu University).


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Veena Kumari - Professor Veena Kumari obtained a PhD in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University, India in 1993 prior to joining the Institute of Psychiatry, London for post-doctoral research. She became a Beit Memorial Research Fellow in 1999, a Wellcome Senior Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science in 2002, and a Full Professor in 2006 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (formerly known as the Institute of Psychiatry), King’s College London, UK. She left King’s College London in 2016 to join the Sovereign Health Group (USA) as the Chief Scientific Officer and returned to the UK in 2018 to join Brunel University London as Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN). Her research interests include the neurobiological effects of pharmacological and psychological treatments in psychosis, neurobiology of violence in mental illness, psychobiology of addiction, and personality and brain functioning. Prof Kumari has over 250 publications in reputed psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience journals and received various national and international awards for her research including the Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance of Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, USA (1999), research fellowship from BEIT Memorial Foundation (1999-2002), the BAP (British Association of Psychopharmacology) Clinical Psychopharmacology Prize (2002), Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science (2002-2009), and most recently the prestigious Humboldt Research Award (2014). Professor Kumari has supervised a large number of post-graduate and doctoral students and served in editor or editorial board member roles for a number of psychology and psychiatry journals.

Related Research Group(s)

Cognitive Neuroscience

Cognitive Neuroscience - Fundamental and applied research into brain function using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), eye-tracking, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), infrared thermography together with psychophysics and cognitive behavioural paradigms in health and disease.


Project last modified 25/06/2021