Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science

Cassandra Vieten, Helana Wahbeh, B. Rael Cahn, Katherine Maclean, Mica Estrada, Paul Mills, Michael Murphy, Shauna Shapiro, Dean Radin, Zoran Josipovic, David E. Presti, Michael Sapiro, Jan Chozen Bays, Peter Russell, David Vago, Fred Travis, Roger Walsh, Arnaud Delorme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The science of meditation has grown tremendously in the last two decades. Most studies have focused on evaluating the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, neural and other physiological correlates of meditation, and individual cognitive and emotional aspects of meditation. Far less research has been conducted on more challenging domains to measure, such as group and relational, transpersonal and mystical, and difficult aspects of meditation; anomalous or extraordinary phenomena related to meditation; and post-conventional stages of development associated with meditation. However, these components of meditation may be crucial to people's psychological and spiritual development, could represent important mediators and/or mechanisms by which meditation confers benefits, and could themselves be important outcomes of meditation practices. In addition, since large numbers of novices are being introduced to meditation, it is helpful to investigate experiences they may encounter that are not well understood. Over the last four years, a task force of meditation researchers and teachers met regularly to develop recommendations for expanding the current meditation research field to include these important yet often neglected topics. These meetings led to a cross-sectional online survey to investigate the prevalence of a wide range of experiences in 1120 meditators. Results show that the majority of respondents report having had many of these anomalous and extraordinary experiences. While some of the topics are potentially controversial, they can be subjected to rigorous scientific investigation. These arenas represent largely uncharted scientific terrain and provide excellent opportunities for both new and experienced researchers. We provide suggestions for future directions, with accompanying online materials to encourage such research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0205740
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Fingerprint

Meditation
researchers
Research
teachers
Direction compound
Research Personnel
Mindfulness
Advisory Committees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Vieten, C., Wahbeh, H., Cahn, B. R., Maclean, K., Estrada, M., Mills, P., ... Delorme, A. (2018). Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science. PLoS One, 13(11), [e0205740]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205740

Future directions in meditation research : Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science. / Vieten, Cassandra; Wahbeh, Helana; Cahn, B. Rael; Maclean, Katherine; Estrada, Mica; Mills, Paul; Murphy, Michael; Shapiro, Shauna; Radin, Dean; Josipovic, Zoran; Presti, David E.; Sapiro, Michael; Bays, Jan Chozen; Russell, Peter; Vago, David; Travis, Fred; Walsh, Roger; Delorme, Arnaud.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 13, No. 11, e0205740, 01.11.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vieten, C, Wahbeh, H, Cahn, BR, Maclean, K, Estrada, M, Mills, P, Murphy, M, Shapiro, S, Radin, D, Josipovic, Z, Presti, DE, Sapiro, M, Bays, JC, Russell, P, Vago, D, Travis, F, Walsh, R & Delorme, A 2018, 'Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science', PLoS One, vol. 13, no. 11, e0205740. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205740
Vieten, Cassandra ; Wahbeh, Helana ; Cahn, B. Rael ; Maclean, Katherine ; Estrada, Mica ; Mills, Paul ; Murphy, Michael ; Shapiro, Shauna ; Radin, Dean ; Josipovic, Zoran ; Presti, David E. ; Sapiro, Michael ; Bays, Jan Chozen ; Russell, Peter ; Vago, David ; Travis, Fred ; Walsh, Roger ; Delorme, Arnaud. / Future directions in meditation research : Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science. In: PLoS One. 2018 ; Vol. 13, No. 11.
@article{9c3627dd31b24ca18a35db83b964ae6b,
title = "Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science",
abstract = "The science of meditation has grown tremendously in the last two decades. Most studies have focused on evaluating the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, neural and other physiological correlates of meditation, and individual cognitive and emotional aspects of meditation. Far less research has been conducted on more challenging domains to measure, such as group and relational, transpersonal and mystical, and difficult aspects of meditation; anomalous or extraordinary phenomena related to meditation; and post-conventional stages of development associated with meditation. However, these components of meditation may be crucial to people's psychological and spiritual development, could represent important mediators and/or mechanisms by which meditation confers benefits, and could themselves be important outcomes of meditation practices. In addition, since large numbers of novices are being introduced to meditation, it is helpful to investigate experiences they may encounter that are not well understood. Over the last four years, a task force of meditation researchers and teachers met regularly to develop recommendations for expanding the current meditation research field to include these important yet often neglected topics. These meetings led to a cross-sectional online survey to investigate the prevalence of a wide range of experiences in 1120 meditators. Results show that the majority of respondents report having had many of these anomalous and extraordinary experiences. While some of the topics are potentially controversial, they can be subjected to rigorous scientific investigation. These arenas represent largely uncharted scientific terrain and provide excellent opportunities for both new and experienced researchers. We provide suggestions for future directions, with accompanying online materials to encourage such research.",
author = "Cassandra Vieten and Helana Wahbeh and Cahn, {B. Rael} and Katherine Maclean and Mica Estrada and Paul Mills and Michael Murphy and Shauna Shapiro and Dean Radin and Zoran Josipovic and Presti, {David E.} and Michael Sapiro and Bays, {Jan Chozen} and Peter Russell and David Vago and Fred Travis and Roger Walsh and Arnaud Delorme",
year = "2018",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0205740",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "13",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "11",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Future directions in meditation research

T2 - Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science

AU - Vieten, Cassandra

AU - Wahbeh, Helana

AU - Cahn, B. Rael

AU - Maclean, Katherine

AU - Estrada, Mica

AU - Mills, Paul

AU - Murphy, Michael

AU - Shapiro, Shauna

AU - Radin, Dean

AU - Josipovic, Zoran

AU - Presti, David E.

AU - Sapiro, Michael

AU - Bays, Jan Chozen

AU - Russell, Peter

AU - Vago, David

AU - Travis, Fred

AU - Walsh, Roger

AU - Delorme, Arnaud

PY - 2018/11/1

Y1 - 2018/11/1

N2 - The science of meditation has grown tremendously in the last two decades. Most studies have focused on evaluating the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, neural and other physiological correlates of meditation, and individual cognitive and emotional aspects of meditation. Far less research has been conducted on more challenging domains to measure, such as group and relational, transpersonal and mystical, and difficult aspects of meditation; anomalous or extraordinary phenomena related to meditation; and post-conventional stages of development associated with meditation. However, these components of meditation may be crucial to people's psychological and spiritual development, could represent important mediators and/or mechanisms by which meditation confers benefits, and could themselves be important outcomes of meditation practices. In addition, since large numbers of novices are being introduced to meditation, it is helpful to investigate experiences they may encounter that are not well understood. Over the last four years, a task force of meditation researchers and teachers met regularly to develop recommendations for expanding the current meditation research field to include these important yet often neglected topics. These meetings led to a cross-sectional online survey to investigate the prevalence of a wide range of experiences in 1120 meditators. Results show that the majority of respondents report having had many of these anomalous and extraordinary experiences. While some of the topics are potentially controversial, they can be subjected to rigorous scientific investigation. These arenas represent largely uncharted scientific terrain and provide excellent opportunities for both new and experienced researchers. We provide suggestions for future directions, with accompanying online materials to encourage such research.

AB - The science of meditation has grown tremendously in the last two decades. Most studies have focused on evaluating the clinical effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, neural and other physiological correlates of meditation, and individual cognitive and emotional aspects of meditation. Far less research has been conducted on more challenging domains to measure, such as group and relational, transpersonal and mystical, and difficult aspects of meditation; anomalous or extraordinary phenomena related to meditation; and post-conventional stages of development associated with meditation. However, these components of meditation may be crucial to people's psychological and spiritual development, could represent important mediators and/or mechanisms by which meditation confers benefits, and could themselves be important outcomes of meditation practices. In addition, since large numbers of novices are being introduced to meditation, it is helpful to investigate experiences they may encounter that are not well understood. Over the last four years, a task force of meditation researchers and teachers met regularly to develop recommendations for expanding the current meditation research field to include these important yet often neglected topics. These meetings led to a cross-sectional online survey to investigate the prevalence of a wide range of experiences in 1120 meditators. Results show that the majority of respondents report having had many of these anomalous and extraordinary experiences. While some of the topics are potentially controversial, they can be subjected to rigorous scientific investigation. These arenas represent largely uncharted scientific terrain and provide excellent opportunities for both new and experienced researchers. We provide suggestions for future directions, with accompanying online materials to encourage such research.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85056275777&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85056275777&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0205740

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0205740

M3 - Article

C2 - 30403693

AN - SCOPUS:85056275777

VL - 13

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 11

M1 - e0205740

ER -