Willoughby Britton PhD

Dr. Britton earned a B.A. in Neuroscience from Colgate University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2007.  She is the Director of Brown University’s Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory which investigates the psychophysiological (EEG, EMG, EKG) and neurocognitive effects of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions. Her research investigates mechanisms of action, moderators of treatment outcome, practice-specific effects, and adverse effects of meditation. She has investigated the neuropsychological mechanisms of meditation-related benefits (paper 1paper2paper3paper4) and how over-training these same processes can lead to harmspractice-specific effects, and moderators of treatment outcome (including gender, and social context) Or in other words: which practices are best or worst suited for which types of people or conditions and why?

Dr. Britton co-directed the  “The Varieties of Contemplative Experience” ( VCE) study, which is the most comprehensive study on meditation-related challenges to date. The VCE study created a taxonomy of 60 meditation-related challenges and 26 factors that influence severity and duration. Peer reviewed articles about meditation-related harms include a consensus statement by concerned scientistsmechanisms of action, and best practices for measuring and monitoring. She is particularly interested in meditation-related changes in sense(s) of selfwhich types of changes in sense(s) of self increase or decrease wellbeing; and the effects of mindfulness-based programs on self-related processing. 

Jared Lindahl PhD

Jared Lindahl is Visiting Assistant Professor in Brown University’s Department of Religious Studies and director of the humanities research track in the Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab. Since 2014, Dr. Lindahl has been directing the data collection, qualitative analysis, and writing of papers for the Varieties of Contemplative Experience research project.  Jared holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His ongoing research examines contemplative practices in a range of contexts—from classical Greece, India, and Tibet to Buddhist modernism and the mindfulness movement in the United States—and attempts to integrate historical and textual studies of contemplative traditions with phenomenological and neurobiological approaches in order to investigate the relationship between contemplative practices, resultant experiences, and culturally situated appraisals of meaning and value.