Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryMindfulness

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Primeval Caveman Wearing Animal Skin Holds Stone Hammer Stands Near Cave and Looks Around Prehistoric Landscape, Ready to Hunt Animal Prey. Neanderthal Going Hunting into Jungle. Low Angle Shot

Fossil Scientists Ask, Could a Neanderthal Meditate?

A paleoneurology research team suggests they couldn’t. But how can the researchers be sure?

Paleoneurology — the study of the evolution of the brain — is the study of fossil brains of extinct life forms. The brain, as it happens, is “wetware” which doesn’t fossilize so paleoneurologists actually study endocasts (natural or virtual casts) of the interiors of skulls. They try to infer behavior, including language and technical competence from the casts. More ambitiously, neuroscientist Emiliano Bruner and psychologist Roberto Colom hope to probe the mind of Neanderthal man, who ranged across Eurasia from about 400,000 years ago through 40,000 years ago but now survives only in small percentages of the genome of the much larger modern human population. From detailed studies, Bruner and Colom conclude: This work proposes evolutionary changes in attention associated…

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Science: Mindfulness Makes a Measurable Difference — a Small One

Many mindfulness practitioners don’t take it seriously enough to change their lifestyle so as to gain the available benefit

Researcher Kevin Dickinson reminds us that there is science behind mindfulness meditation but that crazes are crazes — and the nearly $9 billion dollar market for mindfulness wares is no substitute for serious, regular practice. Here’s what he found that the science tells us: A systematic review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at 47 randomized clinical trials with active controls (totaling 3,515 participants). It found moderate evidence of mindfulness easing anxiety, depression, and pain; low evidence for assuaged stress; insufficient evidence of reduced substance abuse and poor eating habits; and no evidence that mindfulness was better than other treatment options. Similar results can be found across the scientific literature. Another meta-analysis found slightly larger but still moderate…