Investigating Mindfulness: A Story in Three Parts

Two WashU psychologists are teaching students about mindfulness, both as practitioners and as scientists. Todd Braver and Heather Rice explore the historical, religious, and scientific roots of the practice. You are invited to read the following three stories in any order.


WashU students meditate

Part I: The Basics

'Mindfulness' is a word that seems to appear everywhere today, but what is it? Meditation or yoga? And does it deserve all the hype? Todd Braver and Heather Rice break down what mindfulness is and how you go about practicing it.

Read Part I here.



brain scans

Part II: The Research

Some companies and schools are embracing mindfulness, touting the many beneficial effects it's been shown to have. But what are those effects? And can we trust the research? Heather Rice shares her concerns about some of the studies in popular culture, and Todd Braver explains where he and others are forging ahead with neural imaging techniques. 

Read Part II here.


Buddha StatuePart III: Where Religion Meets Science

Mindfulness research may just be ramping up, but Buddhists have been practicing mindfulness for millennia. In Western cultures, mindfulness is often divorced from its spiritual background; isn't that cultural appropriation? Heather Rice and Todd Braver grapple with this question, sharing opinions from their students, their experience, and the Dalai Lama himself.

Read Part III here.