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The Mindfulness Podcast with Dr. David Black

Join Dr. David Black, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Founding Director of the American Mindfulness Research Association, discuss the research and practice of mindfulness meditation with leading experts in the field. He sets out to uncover the clinical utility of mindfulness practice, explore its use among diverse populations, review the novelty of new research methods applied in the field, and expand its investigation across scientific disciplines. 

Existing members sign in or become an AMRA Member to listen. Episodes become free to the public 90 days after release. 

Episode 36: Berlin's CovSocial project: Comparing mindfulness and partner-based support practices
Released Dec 12, 2023

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I am joined by Tania Singer, Ph.D., Professor of Social Neuroscience and the head of the Max Planck Society’s Social Neuroscience Lab in Berlin. Her expertise lies in compassion and empathy, focusing her research on the hormonal, neuronal, and developmental foundations of human sociality, empathy, and compassion. She explores their adaptability through mental training. Notably, she spearheaded one of the most extensive meditation-based secular mental training studies on compassion, known as the ReSource project. Additionally, she leads the CovSocial project, a substantial study examining stress, resilience, and social cohesion among Berliners during the COVID-19 crisis. She has authored over 160 scientific articles and book chapters. She co-edited two books, "Caring Economics" (2015) and "Power and Care" (2019), alongside Mathieu Ricard. In our discussion, we delve into her CovSocial project and specifically explore results comparing mindfulness training against a dyad interventions regarding thought and affect patterns.

Materials discussed:

Petzold, P., Silveira, S., Godara, M., Matthaeus, H., & Singer, T. (2023). A randomized trial on differential changes in thought and affect after mindfulness versus dyadic practice indicates phenomenological fingerprints of app-based interventions. Scientific Reports.

The CovSocial Project

Episode 35: Mindfulness in early childhood education: A Wisconsin-based study in preschool and kinder
Released Nov 22, 2023

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I am joined by Beth Haines, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin with expertise in cognitive and social development. She and Kathy Immel, Ph.D. in child clinical psychology, collaborate with community agencies to train preschool teachers on mindfulness practices and to teach the Mindfulness-Based Kindness Curriculum (MBKC) in their classrooms. Their research explores optimal ways to use mindfulness training to improve young children’s social competence, self-regulation, empathy skills, as well as their cognitive skills and academic performance. Important goals of this work are to bring mindfulness training to the early childhood education community and support teachers’ professional development.

Materials discussed:

Haines, B. A., Hong, P. Y., Immel, K. R., & Lishner, D. A. (2023). The Mindfulness-Based Kindness Curriculum for Preschoolers: An Applied Multi-Site Randomized Control Trial. Mindfulness.

Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., & Davidson, R. J. (2015). Promoting prosocial behavior and self-regulatory skills in preschool children through a mindfulness-based Kindness Curriculum. Developmental Psychology.

Episode 34: Slower breathing linked to less pain in humans: Implications for mind-body practices
Released Oct 26, 2023

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I am joined by Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of California San Diego. He is the Co-Founder and Neuroscience Director of the UC San Diego Center for Psychedelic Research. His research is focused on identifying if and how mind-body approaches like mindfulness meditation modify behavioral and neural mechanisms of pain and health. Recently, his team demonstrated that mindfulness meditation is mechanistically distinct from and more effective than placebo at reducing pain. He and his laboratory are also examining how natural products like cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms modulate the subjective experience of pain. His team is currently conducting studies to identify how mental training can cultivate behavioral and neural mechanisms supporting compassion and empathy in patients, law enforcement officers, and community dwellers. We discuss his new article that analyzed the relationships between breathing rate and pain perception.

Materials discussed:

Oliva, V., Baumgartner, J. N., Farris, S. R., Riegner, G., Khatib, L., Jung, Y., ... & Zeidan, F. (2023). Neural and Psychological Mechanisms in the Relationship Between Resting Breathing Rate and Pain. Mindfulness.

Zeidan, F., Emerson, N. M., Farris, S. R., Ray, J. N., Jung, Y., McHaffie, J. G., & Coghill, R. C. (2015). Mindfulness meditation-based pain relief employs different neural mechanisms than placebo and sham mindfulness meditation-induced analgesia. Journal of Neuroscience.

Episode 33: Comparing mindfulness meditation to drug treatment for anxiety disorders
Released Sep 05, 2023

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I am joined by Elizabeth Hoge, M.D., Director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. Her research focuses on treatments for anxiety disorders, including medication, psychotherapy and mindfulness, and the examination of biomarkers of anxiety, stress, and trauma. She has authored over 50 publications in the medical research literature and is on the Scientific Council of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Materials discussed:

Hoge, E. A., Armstrong, C. H., Mete, M., Oliva, I., Lazar, S. W., Lago, T. R., & Grillon, C. (2023). Attenuation of Anxiety-Potentiated Startle After Treatment with Escitalopram or Mindfulness Meditation in Anxiety Disorders. Biological Psychiatry.

Hoge, E. A., Bui, E., Mete, M., Dutton, M. A., Baker, A. W., & Simon, N. M. (2023). Mindfulness-based stress reduction vs escitalopram for the treatment of adults with anxiety disorders: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry.

Episode 32: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in scientific publishing: Benefits and concerns
Released Aug 03, 2023

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I am joined by Chris Krägeloh, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. His research interests include outcome measurement in mental health, mindfulness, and investigating psychosocial factors in robotics. He has authored more than 130 articles in international journals, was lead author of a mindfulness research book (Mindfulness-Based Intervention Research: Characteristics, Approaches, and Developments), co-editor of two major reference works on assessment (Handbook of Assessment in Mindfulness Research and International Handbook of Behavioral Health Assessment), and co-editor and co-author of several other books on research methods and well-being. He is the joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Mindfulness. We discuss the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in research publishing and the benefits and challenges posed by this growing technology.

Materials discussed:

Medvedev, O., & Krägeloh, C. (2023). Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Mindfulness Research and Dissemination: Guidelines for Authors. Mindfulness.

Krägeloh, C. U., Bharatharaj, J., Albo-Canals, J., Hannon, D., & Heerink, M. (2022). The time is ripe for robopsychology. Frontiers in Psychology.

Episode 31: Single session mindfulness practices aids performance on attention task
Released Jul 05, 2023

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I am joined by Rita Sleimen-Malkoun, P.T., Ph.D., who is an assistant professor at Aix-Marseille University (AMU) in Marseille, France. She is affiliated with the Faculty of Sports Sciences and the Institute of Movement Science Etienne-Jules Marey. Dr. Sleimen-Malkoun's research focuses on understanding the interactions between cognition and motor control in various populations, and how factors like physical and mental training influence these interactions. Her work has applications in prevention, training, and rehabilitation. Over the past decade, she has dedicated a significant portion of her research to studying healthy aging, including its characteristics, mediators, and moderators. Recently, she has also been investigating the behavioral effects of mindfulness meditation. Currently, she is involved in the Active Aging Chair, supported by AMU and AG2R- La Mondiale, and is a partner in the Doctoral Translational Research Network in Motor Disorder Rehabilitation (TReND), funded by the Horizon Europe Framework Program. In our discussion, we explore her latest study, which examines the impact of a single session of mindfulness meditation on cognitive abilities using the Stroop task.

Materials discussed:

Sleimen-Malkoun, R., Devillers-Réolon, L., & Temprado, J. J. (2023). A single session of mindfulness meditation may acutely enhance cognitive performance regardless of meditation experience. Plos one.

Devillers-Réolon, L., Temprado, J. J., & Sleimen-Malkoun, R. (2023). Mindfulness meditation and bimanual coordination control: study of acute effects and the mediating role of cognition. Frontiers in Psychology.

Episode 30: Using reinforcement schedules to show mindfulness training aids learning
Released Jun 06, 2023

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My guest Professor Phil Reed is University Chair in Psychology at Swansea University in Wales. Dr. Reed's research interests span a wide range of basic and applied topics, including learning and behaviour, schedules of reinforcement, autism, and  urogynaecological health. He has authored books, notably "Interventions for Autism: Evidence for Educational and Clinical Practice," published over 300 papers, and has been invited to present his work at numerous international conferences. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Learning and Motivation. He and his team have presented research on Women's Health at the National Assembly for Wales, receiving the 'Medal of the President of the Republic' of Italy in 2016 for their scientific contributions to society in this area. He has held appointments for the Departments of Health and Education, the Children in Wales Policy Council, and the EU Commission on the Digital Economy. He regularly contributes articles to Psychology Today. We discuss his new study testing the effect of mindfulness training on response to schedules of reinforcement.

Materials discussed:

Reed, P. (2023). Focused-attention mindfulness increases sensitivity to current schedules of reinforcement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.

Episode 29: Do mindfulness-based programs help children or not?
Released May 09, 2023

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I am joined by Darren Dunning, Ph.D., scientist at the University of Cambridge's Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, and a Senior Research Adviser for the National Institute for Health and Care Research in the UK. His research focuses on mindfulness interventions for children and adolescents. In this interview, we discuss his recent BMJ network publication, which synthesizes research on mindfulness training for child and adolescent cognition and mental health. The results suggest that mindfulness training benefits anxious children but does not show significant improvement for various other conditions.

Materials discussed:

Dunning, D., Tudor, K., Radley, L., Dalrymple, N., Funk, J., Vainre, M., ... & Dalgleish, T. (2022). Do mindfulness-based programmes improve the cognitive skills, behaviour and mental health of children and adolescents? An updated meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Mental Health.

Episode 28: Outpatient buprenorphine treatment plus mindful recovery for opioid use disorder
Released Apr 18, 2023

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I am joined by Zev Schuman-Olivier, M.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion as well as the Center for Addiction Research at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He is a board-certified addiction psychiatrist. His research focuses on the treatment of addictive disorders with emphasis on outpatient maintenance therapy for opioid use disorder. We discuss his new proof of concept study that examines the potential benefit of trauma‐informed mindful recovery on comorbid pain, anxiety, and substance use during primary care buprenorphine treatment.

Materials discussed: 

Schuman‐Olivier, Z., Fatkin, T., Creedon, T. B.,...Weiss, R. D. (2022). Effects of a trauma‐informed mindful recovery program on comorbid pain, anxiety, and substance use during primary care buprenorphine treatment: A proof‐of‐concept study. The American Journal on Addictions.

Moore, S. K., Okst, K., Smith, L.,...Schuman-Olivier, Z. (2022). “Today I Can Look in the Mirror and Like Myself”: Effects of a Trauma-Informed Mindful Recovery Program on Self-Compassion. Frontiers in Psychology.

Fatkin, T., Moore, S. K., Okst, K.,...Schuman-Olivier, Z. (2021). Feasibility and acceptability of mindful recovery opioid use care continuum (M-ROCC): A concurrent mixed methods study. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Schuman-Olivier, Z., Trombka, M., Lovas, D. A.,...Fulwiler, C. (2020). Mindfulness and behavior change. Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Effect of Mindfulness on Opioid Use and Anxiety During Primary Care Buprenorphine Treatment. NIH R33 Phase.

Episode 27: Behavioral economics nudge to reduce mindless phone use
Released Mar 31, 2023

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I am joined by David Grüning, M.Sc., a researcher at the Department of Psychology at Heidelberg University and GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. He is also the lead scientist of one sec and Chair of the Science Board at Prosocial Design Network. His current research focuses on developing digital and app-based interventions to apply psychological mechanisms in online-environments. We discuss his recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences on reducing automatic smartphone consumption by nudging using the app One Sec.

Materials discussed:

Grüning, D. J., Riedel, F., & Lorenz-Spreen, P. (2023). Directing smartphone use through the self-nudge app one sec. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2021). Nudge: The final edition. Yale University Press: Chicago.

Prosocial Design Network

one sec app

Episode 26: Mobile app mindfulness therapy for caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairment
Released Feb 24, 2023

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I am joined by Elissa Kozlov, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and the Director of the Population Aging Concentration at the Rutgers School of Public Health. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and New Jersey. Her research investigates strategies to improve the mental health outcomes of older adults and adults with serious illness and their families. She is particularly interested in mHealth strategies to expand the reach of evidence-based mental health interventions. She received a KL2 award to investigate mHealth mindfulness therapy for caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairment. Currently, she is investigating dyadic mHealth mindfulness for older adults with serious illness and their caregivers with support from a Beeson K76 Career Development award from the National Institute on Aging.

Materials discussed:

Llaneza, D. H., Llaneza, A. J., & Kozlov, E. (2022). Perceived Benefits and Barriers of mHealth Mindfulness Use for Caregivers of Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: A Qualitative Exploration. Clinical Gerontologist.

Piloting an mHealth-delivered mindfulness therapy with patients with serious illness and their caregivers to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. NIH National Institute on Aging 7K76AG068508-02.  

VA National Center for PTSD. Mindfulness Coach app.

Episode 25: Amygdala reactivity in adolescents after mindfulness program
Released Jan 3, 2023

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I am joined by Iroise Dumontheil, Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London. Her research focuses on the typical development of social cognition and cognitive control during adolescence. Her studies combine methods including functional and structural neuroimaging, cognitive and behavioural assessments, and genetics. She is interested in the impact of cognitive training, from computerized games to mindfulness meditation practice, on child and adolescent cognition, as well as the potential implications of neuroscience research for education. We discuss her brain imaging findings after eight weeks of mindfulness training in adolescents 12–14 years of age while they completed an n-back task with emotional face distractors and an attentional control task. 

Materials discussed:

Dumontheil, I. (2016). Adolescent brain development. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.

Dumontheil, I., Lyons, K. E., Russell, T. A., & Zelazo, P. D. (2022). A preliminary neuroimaging investigation of the effects of mindfulness training on attention reorienting and amygdala reactivity to emotional faces in adolescent and adult females. Journal of Adolescence.

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