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Can love and forgiveness change the brain?

Scientists have been intrigued by extraordinary people like the Dali Lama and other individuals who are involved in eastern practices such as meditation. What has fascinated researchers is how these individuals appear to have a greater ability for love, compassion and forgiveness. These virtues are thought to be cultivated through specific practices and are not inborn and fixed. Not only could love, compassion and forgiveness be cultivated through specific experiences but they may actually change the structure of the brain. Professor Richard Davidson has set up a new research project to apply hard science to these questions.

The $2.5 million research project will build on Davidson?s previous work. For example, he found that people who participate in practices such as meditation display changes in the brain associated with positive emotions.? Other research has looked at practices which elicit compassion and how this impacts upon the brain.? Davidson acknowledges that this will not be an easy project.? For example, he says that the issue of how to define, isolate and measure what responses in the brain are actually connected with, say, love.

The funder of the project,the Fetzer Institute, believe that this research is important in helping to understand some of the ?fundamental issues that humanity faces today - namely, our capacity to love and forgive?.? To read the article click here

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