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Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Emotional Reactivity and Wisdom Assessment of Meditators and Non-Meditators

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FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONAN CE IMAGING OF EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY AND WISDOM ASSESSM ENT OF MEDITATORS AND NON-MEDITATORS By MARC F. KURTZMAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Marc F. Kurzman

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To my parents: thank you for continuing to believe in me

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my family, mentor s, and colleagues for their continued support. I thank my mentors, Dr. Shaya Ise nberg, Dr. Lou Ritz, and Dr. Gene Thursby, for their support and encouragement on such an ambitious project. I thank the University of Florida Center for Spirituality a nd Health for the s upport and vision of interdisciplinary research. I thank the many people who made this work possible: Shaya Isenberg, Ph.D., Lou Ritz Ph.D., Gene Thur sby Ph.D., Monika Ardelt Ph.D., Keith White Ph.D., Tim Conway Ph.D., Bruce Crosson Ph.D., Keith McGregor B.S., and Katie MacElhannon B.S.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................1 An Integralist Approach...............................................................................................1 Meditation: A Definition..............................................................................................5 Previous Research in Meditation..................................................................................6 Wisdom......................................................................................................................... 9 Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging..................................................................11 Neuroimaging Emotion..............................................................................................12 Hypothesis..................................................................................................................16 Wisdom................................................................................................................16 Functional Imaging..............................................................................................16 2: METHODS....................................................................................................................1 8 Materials and Methods for Wisdom Assessment.......................................................18 Participants..........................................................................................................18 Survey Instruments..............................................................................................19 Analysis...............................................................................................................21 Materials and Methods for Functio nal Magnetic Resonance Imaging.......................22 Participants..........................................................................................................22 Experimental Stimuli...........................................................................................22 Experimental Design...........................................................................................22 Image Acquisition...............................................................................................23 Image Analysis....................................................................................................24 3: RESULTS..................................................................................................................... .27 Wisdom Surveys.........................................................................................................27 Meditators versus Non-Meditators......................................................................27

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vi Group Based Meditators versus N on-group Based Meditators and NonMeditators...............................................................................................................29 Threshold Meditators..............................................................................................30 Functional Imaging Results...............................................................................................32 All Affect Based Deconvolution T-Tests............................................................32 All Affect Based Deconvolu tion Descriptive Analysis.......................................32 Affect Based Deconvolution...............................................................................36 4: DISCUSSION................................................................................................................40 Wisdom Surveys.........................................................................................................40 Functional Imaging.....................................................................................................43 Future Research..........................................................................................................44 Conclusion..................................................................................................................44 REFERENCE LIST ...........................................................................................................46 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................51

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vii LIST OF TABLES Table page 1: Group statistics of meditators and non-me ditators in the vari ous portions of the survey.......................................................................................................................28 2: Group statistics of group based med itators and non-meditators/non-group based meditators in the various portions of the survey......................................................30 3: Group statistics of threshold medita tors and non-medita tors/non-threshold meditators in the various portions of the survey......................................................31 4: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (l).......................34 5: Individual subject data of volume of left and right limbic activity (l). .......................35 6: Individual subject data of volume of left and right activity (l)....................................37 7: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (l)........................38 8: Individual subject data of volume of left and right occipital activity (l) ...................39

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1. Four quadrant map of Ken Wilbers Integral theory (Wilber, 2000b, p. 1)...................3 2: Medial view of brain with limbic lobe and prefrontal limbic cortex (Iverson et al, 2000, p. 987).............................................................................................................13 3: Limbic system showing interconnectedne ss of the structures and arrows indicating the predominant direction of neural activity (Iverson et al, 2000, p. 987)...............13 4: The schematic above is an example of a single run. The total run length was 200.6 sec............................................................................................................................ .23 5: Above is an example of an affective stim ulus block (positive) consisting of five interchanging pictures from the Interna tional Affective Picture System shown for a duration of 3.4 sec. and with wh ite blank images shown between for 1.7 sec. for a total block time of 27.2 seconds...............................................................23 6: Aggregated data of med itators and non-meditators de picting hemispheric activity according to volume size. The red and blue pie charts above the aggregated non-meditators give the breakdown of each individual non-meditator subject. The blue and yellow pie charts above the aggregated meditator data is the breakdown of each individual meditator subject......................................................33 7: Aggregated data of meditators an d non-meditators depicting frontal lobe hemispheric activity according to volume size........................................................34 8: Aggregated data of meditators an d non-meditators depicting limbic system hemispheric activity according to volume size........................................................35 9: Aggregated data of med itators and non-meditators de picting hemispheric activity according to volume size during presenta tion of negative affective stimuli............37 10: Aggregated data of meditators a nd non-meditators depicting frontal lobe hemispheric activity according to volu me size during presentation of negative affective stimuli........................................................................................................38 11: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depict ing occipital lobe hemispheric activity according to volu me size during presentation of negative affective stimuli........................................................................................................39

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ix Abstract of thesis Presented to the Gradua te School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONAN CE IMAGING OF EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY AND WISDOM ASSESSM ENT OF MEDITATORS AND NON-MEDITATORS By Marc F. Kurtzman August 2005 Chair: Shaya Isenberg Major Department: Religion The growing interest in meditation ha s opened the door for new and innovative research to understand both the psychologica l and physiological eff ects of this ancient practice. Research in the area of meditation is normally interdisciplinary in nature. Meditation research encompasse s many fields of research from religious studies to psychology to neuroscience. The following stud y was an interdisciplinary venture that brought together researchers fr om the fields of religious studies, psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. The first portion of the study explored th e psychological impact of meditation. Using Monika Ardelts Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS), 42 subjects of meditators and non-meditators completed th e 3D-WS and scores were computed among the various dimensions that comprise the 3D-WS. Various groupi ngs and statistical analysis were performed in evaluating the po ssible differences. The results demonstrated significant differences in overall wisdom. Among the three dimensions that comprise

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x overall wisdom, significant differences were found in the reflective dimension but most significant in the affective domain. In the second portion of the study, we ut ilized the technolo gy of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a pilot study to explore possible differences in brain activation between meditators and non-me ditators in the presence of emotional stimuli from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). Six subjects (3 meditators, 3 non-meditators) underwent an fMRI and a descriptive volume analysis was used in exploring global a nd regions of interest differe nces between the two groups. Global asymmetries were found in the time-lock ed all affect based deconvolution. The occipital region showed asymmetries for all affect based deconvolu tion. Frontal region activity showed asymmetries for the time-lo cked negative affect only deconvolution. The study shed light on areas of explorati on that should be furt her explored. The low number of subjects in the fMRI portion of the study inhibited st atistically significant differences from being demonstrated. The im plications of the study shed further light on the many changes that are possible in bot h mind and brain with the practicing of meditation.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION There is a widespread interest in the benefits/effects of meditation on the whole person. The practice of sitting in silence is no longer confined to the realms of new age hocus pocus but have entered the spheres of me dicine and mental health. From its roots in contemplative religious practices, medita tion has been transformed and made secular for those seeking the benefits without the beli efs. The effects of meditation have been studied from the level of microbiology to the macro level of cognitive neuroscience. Along the dimensions from micro to macro, there is a general consensus of positive effects. Technological advances in neur oimaging have enabled a new generation of studies that are better equippe d to image the spatial dynamics of meditation versus the temporal dynamics of meditation. Recent studi es as late as 2003, have suggested that meditation research should utilize technol ogy that provides great er neuroanatomical information of brain function, i.e., functi onal magnetic resonance imaging (Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al ., 2003). The latest gene ration of meditation research has focused less on the changes during meditation and more on the permanent/enduring changes that a consistent practice brings to the practitioner. An Integralist Approach The conceptualization of my research rests upon the Integral System formulated by Ken Wilber. In his four-qua drant system (discussed below), the left half has correlates

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2 in the right half. In other words the mental has correlates in the physical. These physical correlates take the form of the body and its underlying systems. As stated by Ken Wilber, feelings, mental ideas, and sp iritual illuminations all have physical correlates that can be measured by various scie ntific means, from EEG machines to blood chemistry to PET scans to galvanic skin response (Wilber, 2000a, p 75). However, Wilber was not the first to correlate the inner landscape of the mind to its physical embodiment. William Jamess classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience is the text of his Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion deliv ered at Edinburgh in 1901-02. An early lecture in the series was tit led, Religion and Neurology. A passage from the lecture discusses on the issue of brain and mind in the context of re ligious experiences: To plead the organic causation of a religious state of mind, then, in refutation of its claim to possess superior spiritual value, is quite illogical and arbitrary, unless one has already worked out in advance so me psycho-physical theory connecting spiritual values in general with dete rminate sorts of physiological change. Otherwise none of our thoughts and feelings not even our scientific doctrines, not even our disbeliefs, could retain any value as revelations of the truth, for every one of them without ex ception flows from the state of their possessors body at the timeIt has no physiological theory of th e production of these its favorite states, by which it may accredit them; and its atte mpt to discredit the states which it dislikes, by vaguely associating them with nerves and liver, and connecting them with names connoting bodily affliction, is altogether illogical and inconsistent. (James, 1986, p. 33) This project does not have the task of assigning origin1 to either the body or mind; rather the focus of the resear ch is on the dynamic relationshi p between the two domains. 1 This unanswered question is of particular importance in all fields of neurological studies. The question is whether the mind or body comes first or is a dynamic relationship? If our moment-to-moment experience is the sum of our neurological activity then what does that say about our existence on the other hand if mind precedes experience then of what realm does the mind exist in? This is a troubling question that myself and my fellow colleagues that work within neurological studies have many hours of discussion over; the issue of the origination of consciousness is perhaps a problem in the question. It might be that the question of origination in brain or mind is limited in its scope.

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3 This is contrast to some previous research that have provided an unapologetic bias by claiming that all experiences are brainbased without considering the dynamic relationship between these two fi elds (Saver & Rabin, 1997). The mutual relationship between the mind and body or in other words the physical and non-physical is the focus of In tegral theory. Ken Wilbers Integral Philosophy fits into a four quadrant domain. Be low is a map of the four quadrant system. Figure 1. Four quadrant map of Ken Wilbe rs Integral theory (Wilber, 2000b, p. 1). To interpret this elaborate map, it is crucia l to understand that Wilbers system is a construction on the continuum from simple to co mplex. In this pattern, he states that in life there are divisions of si ngular-plural, interior-exter ior, and mind-body or spiritmatter. In referring to the Four Quadrant map I will use the abbreviations UR (upper right), UL (upper left), LR (lower right), and LL (lower left). The UR on the map says

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4 IT, the it of this map is all ma tter ranging from atoms to complex SF32 humans. The LR says ITS and the its is the collective matter or habitat in which the its subsist in. The UL says I and this quadrant deals with the interior I or mind. The LL is the We and this quadrant deals with the coll ective interior we or simply put the individuals worldview. When viewing the map, it is helpful to divi de the system before explaining the it as a whole. The right side deals with the exte rior or matter and the left side deals with the interior or mind. A further di vision is that the top half of the system deals with the singular and the bottom half deals with the pl ural. Starting with UR and then proceeding clockwise one can correlate all quadrants. St arting from level six appears the term neural cord in UR, in LR we see that level six corres ponds to societies with divisions of labor, in UL six corresponds to perception, and in LL one corresponds to locomo tive. So, a living creature having a neural cord has a habitat w ithin a society with di visions of labor, this creatures interior singular is perception meaning its nervous system has the ability to perceive the universe, and its worldview is locomotive. The purpose of this study is to investig ate the interactive relationship between the left and right halves of the integral syst em. The assessment of the wisdom of an individual evaluates the UL and LL. The wi sdom of an individual pertains to both the UL and LL because the 3D-WS assesses both the individuals psyche as well as worldview. The assessment of the neurological reactivity of subjects to affective pictures assesses the UR. The practice of meditation is widely unde rstood as a transformational 2 Terms like SF3 humans or other terms that will be mentioned are terms that Wilber has defined in part with his Integral System. Rather than spend lots of time on explaining all of the various levels it is important to grasp from this short explanation that there are various levels and these levels have names given by Wilber.

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5 process. This study aims to evaluate thes e transformations of both dimensions of an individual. Meditation invol ves the concentration of both body and mind which has guided this study. Meditation, for the purpose of this study, is sedentary and a stillness of the body must be maintained. These points of concentration are hypothesized to have changes on both physical a nd nonphysical dimensions. Meditation: A Definition What exactly is meditation? Some ha ve argued that meditation is a kind of altered state of consciousness (Tart, 1969). Various defi nitions of meditation arise because of the various forms of meditation. Epstein and Lieff3 in their article in Transformations of Consciousness defined meditation more clinically: Meditation may be conceptualized as a pro cess of attentional restructuring wherein the mind can be trained both in concentra tion, the ability to rest undisturbed on a single object, and in mindfulness, the abil ity to observe its own moment-to-moment nature, to pay attention u ndistractedly to a series of changing objects. This perceptual retraining allows a finely honed investigation of the rapidly changing self-concepts that perpetuate the sens e of self. (Epstein & Lieff, 1986: 58) Researchers have shown that retraining or development of mindfulness via the practice of meditation has been shown by re searchers to change the body, psyche, and even society (Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al, 2003 ; Kabat-Zinn, Miller et al, 1995; Gilliani, Smith et al, 2001; ). Benson et al 1990; Hagelin et al, 1999). From a researchers perspective a specifi c research protocol to define meditation is difficult to establish. Researchers, in cluding Jon Kabat-Zinn, have formulated a secularized version of meditation that is ta ught under the name of mindfulness (KabatZinn, 1990). Recent literature attempts to es tablish criteria for the classification of 3 The background and personal practice of these two physicians is in Vipassana which is evident in their definition of meditation. Although I feel their definition highlights the common themes of meditation, the vipassana tradition tends to focus on bare insight and awareness without the usage of visualizations or chanting just simply being and breathing.

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6 meditation in research (Cardoso, Souza et al, 2004). Cardoso and Souza developed a five-point criterion for defining meditation in health research. They include a specified technique, body relaxation, l ogic relaxation, self-induction, and a employment of a self-focus skill (Cardoso, Souza et al, 2004). By Cardosos own admission this operational definition will be unable to capture all of the intricacies of various practices of meditation. The current st udys interdisciplinary staff is an asset to properly understand and classify various forms of meditation in the sample population. The researchers for previous meditation studies have not had an inte rdisciplinary group of researchers to aid in the evaluation of meditati on as a practice. T hus previous studies on meditation lacked expertise on various med itative traditions. The assemblage of the project staff for this resear ch study draws upon the fields of sociology, religious studies, and neuroscience. This multidisciplinary sta ff will benefit the research in identifying possible latent variables such as the nature of the individuals practice or theory behind the practice. These seemingly tr ivial aspects are crucial in isolating and understanding the subjects practice. Previous Research in Meditation The popularity of meditation and Eastern re ligions has been steadily increasing in Western culture. Eastern philosophy and pr actices, from yoga to meditation, have migrated to the West. Initia lly the benefits of meditation were known anecdotally. From the ability to levitate to a life with reduced stress, the claims of me ditation have attracted a large population. Today, however, the benefi ts of meditation have science to support them. Scientific research on meditation ha s been published in popular media such as Time magazines profile of The Science of Meditation: New Age mumbo jumbo? Not for millions of Americans who meditate for hea lth and well-being. Heres how it works

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7 (Stein, 2004). The benefit of meditation conc luded in scientific research has made its practice more widespread. No longer relega ted to the spheres of religious/spiritual practices, meditation is now broadly taught in the field of medicine. One of the earliest research studies on meditation ca me from Japan. It was an electroencephalographic study of Zen meditators (Kasamatsu & Hirai, 1966). Since that time many researchers have made careers from meditation research most notably Richard Davidson Ph.D., Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D., and He rbert Benson M.D. An article from Science on Benson characterized him aptly as the mind-body maverick (Roush, 1997). Benson is most famous for his best-selli ng work on the relaxation response. The relaxation response an original term coin ed by Benson that describes physiological alterations during a state of relaxation (Rous h, 1997). As a result of his research, Benson has come to advocate meditation practice. In one of his studies on meditation he examined Tibetan Buddhist monks, regarded as advanced meditators, and found that they were able to alter their meta bolism and more specifically decr ease it (Benson et al, 1990). This study and the majority of prev ious studies of meditation utilize electroencephalogram4 (EEG). In this EEG study, Benson found the alteration in metabolism was not one-way. Benson found metabolism could be raised 61% from baseline and lowered to 64% from baseli ne depending upon the particular meditation employed (Benson et al, 1990). To differen tiate normal relaxation versus meditation, Solberg studied hemodynamic changes duri ng long meditations in contrast to nonmeditators resting in a seated position for th e same length of time (Solberg et al, 2004). They found that during the firs t hour heart-rate d eclined more in meditators than non4 It should be stated that many advancements have occurred in EEG and are utilized widely in current neuroscience research.

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8 meditators/controls and during the second hour HR declined ev en further in meditators (Solberg et al, 2004). This study provided evidence that simply sitting in a rested position with lack of focus i.e. relaxing doe s not produce the same hemodynamic changes as seen in meditation. Davidson and Kabat-Zinn recently concluded that mindfulness meditation produced demonstrable effects on brain and immune function (Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al., 2003). Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that is secular in nature that was developed by Kabat-Zinn. In this same study Davidson and Kabat-Zinn also discovered, via usage of EEG and Electrooculography (EOG) th at increases in left-side anterior activation followed the practice of mindf ulness. Left-side anterior activation is a pattern associated with positive affect. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that combines yoga, breathing, imagery, progressi ve muscle relaxation, and Zen psychology (Gillani & Smith, 2001). In another study, KabatZinn and his research team performed a 3 year follow-up on 22 patients who all had a DS M (Diagnostic and Stat istical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnose d anxiety disorder and who we re all taught the mindfulness program (Kabat-Zinn, Miller, & Fletcher, 1995 ). Kabat-Zinn found that the continuing practice led to a decrease in anxiety5 (Kabat-Zinn, Miller, & Fletcher, 1995). The highlight of this article is the authors de scription of the transf ormational mindset that this meditation supports. They encourage the pr actitioner to adopt a more dispassionate, witness-like observing and self -reporting of the moment by moment unfolding of ones experience (Kabat-Zinn, Miller, & Fletcher, 1995, p. 197). The idea of a detachment from the reactivity to life is a reinforcing at titude within the practice of many forms of 5 Gilliani and Smith came to an identical conclusion rega rding a substantial decrease in anxiety levels but the form of meditation utilized was purely based on the Zen Buddhist tradition (Gillani & Smith, 2001)

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9 meditation. Detachment in the previous context is not a form of uncompassionate withdrawal but a type of compassionate awaren ess. Goleman supports this idea when he states, meditators were able to roll with lifes punches, handling daily stresses well and suffering fewer consequences from them (Goleman, 1988 p. 163). A recent meta-analysis was performed to evaluate mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in clinical treatment (Grossman et al. 2004). Grossman discussed the characteristics of mindfulness which entail dispassionate, non-evalu ative and sustained moment-to-moment awareness (Grossman et al. 2004). The meta-analysis performed was limited by the number of investigations to date which evaluate MBSR. The studies they investigated utilized MBSR for a wide array of ailments such as Fibromyalgia, cancer, depression, chronic pa in, and a host of other phys ical and psychological pathologies. Both controlled and observational studies provid ed a statistically significant conclusion (p < .0001) that MBSR helps a wide population to manage a host of clinical and non-clinical problems (Grossman et al. 2004). From physiological/neurological changes to clinical applications, meditation spans the spectrum of research. Studies of physiological effects of meditation have tended to focus upon the changes either dur ing or post meditation (Lutz et al., 2004; Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al., 2003; Solberg et al., 2004; Taka hashi et al., 2004). Few studies have studied the endur ing changes in moment-to-moment awareness of affective stimuli of long term meditators. Wisdom In the article Meditation: Royal Road to the Transpersonal, Walsh and Vaughan discuss various qualities cultivated by the technology of transcendence i.e. meditation (Walsh & Vaughan, 1993, p. 51). One such quality is wisdom: Whereas knowledge is

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10 something we have, wisdom is something we become. Developing it requires selftransformation (Walsh & Vaughan, 1993, p. 51). From a religious point of view, Sant Rajinder Singh discusses the cultivation of wisdom and the difference between what he designates as the souls wisdom from knowledge, the mind analyzes through the subjective eyes of the ego, while the soul views everything through the clear glass of truth (Singh, 1999, p. 19). Sant Rajinder Singh discusses the di fference within the context of elaborating on the qualities atta ined through the practic e of meditation. The terms wisdom and meditation are coupled t ogether often but the question arises, how does one perform research to assess wisdom? Monika Ardelt, Ph.D., has constructed assessment surveys and specific definitions for defining what constitutes wisdom. Sh e defines wisdom as a combination of cognitive, affective, and reflective dimens ions (3D-WS, Ardelt, 2003). For Ardelt, wisdom is a experiential rath er than intellectual knowledge (Ardelt, 2004). Intellectual and wisdom-related knowledge share a common theme of the search for truth (Ardelt, 2000). The opposition of quantitative and qual itative underscores the major differences between intellectual and wisdom-related know ledge (Ardelt, 2000). Not only do these two forms of knowledge differ in their goals but they are brought about by different methods. Intellectual knowledge is obtained from scientific, theo retical, abstract or detached approaches but while wisdom-related kn owledge is inherently spiritual in nature (Ardelt, 2000). The underlying themes to these two approaches are objectivity and subjectivity which are not the same as impers onal vs. personal. Intellectual knowledge is impersonal whereas wisdom-related knowledge is deeply personal (Ardelt, 2000). The

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11 personal nature of wisdom-related knowledge is consistent with Ardelts earlier argument that wisdom is experientially based. Earlier I noted that Ardelt defines wisdom along three dimensions. The cognitive dimension pertains to an indi viduals ability to understa nd the significance and deeper meaning of lifes events (Ardelt, 2003). Ardelt considers the reflective dimension a prerequisite for the development of the c ognitive dimension (Ardelt, 2003), for an individual must have a real ity free from distortions in order to come to a deeper understanding of phenomena (Ardelt, 2003). Fo r Ardelt, the reflective component takes into consideration the many perspectives of lifes events. The idea of a multiperspectival viewpoint is akin to Wilbers notion of aperspectival (Wilber, 2000a). The affective dimension is characterized by a se nse of sympathy or acts of kindness towards others (Ardelt, 2003). In measuring wisdom Ardelt has developed a three-dimensional wisdom scale (3D-WS) that assesses wisdom along the aforementioned dimensions. The 3D-WS has been utilized and test ed for reliability and validity. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging In Keith Whites talk titled MR Physic s in 20 Minutes: A talk from Hell he stated, In the MRI scanner a ve ry large coil cooled with liquid helium has a very strong electric current flowing continuously. This makes the strong (3 Tesla) unchanging magnetic field called B0. Protons in this str ong field: (a) become more magnetic, and (b) become lined up with B0. Dr. White was referring to the protons in the hydrogen atoms which is found throughout the body since each water molecule is composed of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Since water is the most abundant substrate in tissues its signal is dominant in the information content of images (Ogawa et al., 1990). Once these hydrogen nuclei (protons) align with the magnetic field of the scanner a RF (radio

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12 frequency) coil sends a pulse of energy to knock the molecules out of alignment, to a flip angle with respect to B0. The protons, return back to alignment by releasing energy, sending radio waves to the transceiver. The RF coil in the scanner is what is known as a transceiver since it is both able to transmit a signal (i.e. the pulse that knocks the protons to their flip angle) and to receive the signal of the protons returning back to alignment with B0. The basic four steps that occur wh ile the subject is in the scanner are to (1) transmit radio waves into a subject, (2) to turn off radio wave transmitter, (3) to receive radio waves re-transmitted by subject, and (4) to store measured radio wave data (Cox, 2003). Functional MRI operates under the same phys ics as previously explained. Brain activity is measured by the principal of blood oxygenation leveldependent (BOLD) contrast (Ogawa et al., 1990). There is a th ree-step relationship to the BOLD sequence. An increase in neural activity descreases bl ood oxygen in the site of neural activity. A change in magnetization occurs when blood exchanges oxygen with neural tissue and oxyhemoglobin becomes deoxyhemoglobin. The ration of deoxyhemoglobin to oxyhemoglobin alters the signal from wa ter molecules surrounding a blood vessel, resulting in blood oxygenation leve l-dependent contrast. The ge nius of BOLD contrast is its dependency on blood oxygenation which is in turn dependent upon physiological events that change the oxy/deoxyhem oglobin ratio (Ogawa et al., 1990). Neuroimaging Emotion Emotion itself is a non-physical entity that is unable to be captured but the correlates of neural activity to various emotional states have been extensively studied and isolated. The founder of Neuropsychology, Paul Broca, was the first to identify a region of the brain that was later theorized by Jame s Papez to be the cortical structures for

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13 emotion known as the limbic lobe (Iverson et al ., 2000). The limbic lobe is ring-like in shape and consists of phylogenetically prim itive cortex, in relation to the neocortex, around the brain stem (Iv erson et al., 2000). Figure 2: Medial view of brai n with limbic lobe and prefront al limbic cortex (Iverson et al., 2000, p. 987). Figure 3: Limbic system showing interc onnectedness of the structures and arrows indicating the predominant di rection of neural activ ity (Iverson et al., 2000, p. 987).

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14 The limbic lobe is comprised of the ci ngulate gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, and the hippocampal formation (Iverson et al., 2000 ). Later, Paul MacLean developed the concept of the limbic system which added the structures of the hypotha lamus, septal area, nucleus accumbens, neocortical regions such as the orbito frontal cortex, and the most popular structure to examine, the amygdala (Iverson et al., 2000). In neuroimaging the anatomy of emotion, further areas of inte rest include areas common to neuroimaging studies include the anterior cingulate, supplementary motor cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, midand posterior cingulate, tempor al cortex (including hippocampus), parietal and occipital lobes, insular cortex, basal fo rebrain, amygdala, and brainstem (Wager et al., 2003). Studies utilizing functional ma gnetic resonance imaging tend to focus on global activation rather than focusing on vari ous regions of interest (ROIs), e.g. the amygdala. The rationale for focusing solely upon the amygdala and foregoing other areas of the limbic system is the difficulty of im aging the amygdala (Chen et al., 2003). T2*weighted gradient-echo echo-planar imagi ng (EPI) sequences are commonly used in fMRI studies because of the inherent sensitiv ity to BOLD contrast (Chen et al., 2003). A problem arises with the locati on of the amygdala. T2*-weight ed imaging is sensitive to the static field gradient formed by the tissu e-air susceptibility difference (Chen et al., 2003). With this stated, the amygdala is in a region of the brain that has a field of inhomogeneity (Chen et al., 2003). The probl ems arising with the location of the amygdala force many researchers to image onl y a portion of the brain rather than a whole-brain acquisition for optimal sensitivity. Neuroimaging studies of emotion vary from the technology utilized (i.e. PET, fMRI, etc) to tasks and/or stimuli utilized to induce emotion in subjects. Various long-

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15 standing theories underlie many emotion studies. One of th e oldest theories is that emotion has overall right-hemisphere domina nce (Wager et al., 2003). More recent theories of emotion posit that both hemis pheres are involved in emotional processing but each hemisphere has dominance over particul ar types of emotion (Lee et al., 2004). Other theories postulate that lateralization and anatomy of emotion is contingent upon gender (Wager et al., 2003). As previously mentioned, studies of emotion occasionally employ tasks that present a stimulus or instruct subjects to be passive during stimulati on (Shapira et al., 2003; Lang & Bradley et al., 1998; Klein et al., 2003; Sa batinelli et al., 2004; Lee et al., 2004). Emotional stimuli tend to vary ac ross populations and th erefore for accurate classification of valence and ar ousal of stimuli databases of emotional stimuli have been tested and made available to researchers. Valence and arousal are two of three dimensions that the International Affective Pi cture System (IAPS) measures the stimuli. Affective valence ranges from pleasant to unpl easant and measurement of its arousal that ranges from calm to excited (CSEA-NIMH, 1999). One very popular database is the International Affective Picture System6 (IAPS) (CSEA-NIMH, 1999). IAPS was developed to provide a data base of normative emotional stimuli for experimentation (Lang, Bradley, Cuthbert, 2001). 6 The NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention have developed other normative sets of stimuli for non-visual research such as the International A ffective Digitized Sounds (I ADS) and Affective Lexicon of English Words (ANEW).

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16 Hypothesis Wisdom Meditation is known as a transformationa l process and with Wilbers Integral System such transformations should be able to be captured by technology or by internal inventory like the 3D-WS. With the beha vioral analysis meditators should show significant differences in affective and re flective dimensions of the 3D-WS. The cognitive dimension is more difficult to pr edict. Since the cognitive dimension is evaluating a quest for deeper understanding of the phenomena of life, the subjects chosen for this study may show insignificant differences in this dimension due to the spiritually liberal nature of the groups chosen for th is study. Overall wisdom should be higher in meditators than non-meditators. Meditation is often a lifetime prac tice and therefore the consistent practice of meditation should pr oduce significant differences in the purpose in life dimension. Since most meditators recr uited for this study belong to a group the shared spiritual/religious ac tivities assessment should be hi gher than non-meditators. Mastery should be higher in meditators. Th e therapeutic nature of meditation should aid in meditators having less psychological ills and therefore meditato rs should score lower on the depressive symptoms. Functional Imaging The lack of understanding of neurological reactions in meditators as opposed to the same reactions in a non-meditator has not been studied and therefore specific regions of difference are difficult to hypothesize. Over all it is expected th at meditators should have a lower volume activity on a global level and perhaps asymmetries both globally and in regions of interest, in response to em otionally charged visual stimuli. Perhaps

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17 meditation allows for the right hemisphere dom inance of emotion to be less defined and a mutual sharing of emotion among the hemi spheres could be the result.

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18 CHAPTER 2 METHODS Materials and Methods for Wisdom Assessment Participants Forty-two (18 men, 24 women) volunteers participated (age 19-78 years, M = 46.4 years, SD = 15.66 years; education 10-21 y ears, M = 16.74 years, SD = 2.43 years). Nineteen meditation subjects were recruited fr om two different loca l religious groups and 8 non-meditation subjects were gathered from a local religious group. Mediation groups were recruited from those familiar with the project staff and non-meditation groups were chosen from two local liberal natured groups I chose non-fundamentalist groups for the study so as to minimize the possible effect of comparing groups that are philosophically opposite in their cultural open-mindedness. The remaining participants were recruited acquaintances of the project staff. The group-based versus non-group based subjects were recruited to discriminate the variable of group effect. Potential subjects were excluded from the study if they reported a history of neurologi cal disease, major psychiatric disturbance, or subs tance abuse. Two subjects requ ested not to be included in the final pool of subjects sele cted to undergo the fMRI portion of the study. Potential risks were explained at each phase of the study, and informed cons ent was obtained from participants according to institutional guideline s established by the Health Science Center Institutional Review Board at the University of Florida.

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19 Survey Instruments Meditation and non-meditation subjects both completed a survey comprised of 119 questions. Responses were coded as a numer ical value e.g. 1-5. Wisdom was measured by the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (A rdelt, 2003). In the 3D-WS, wisdom is treated as a latent variable comprised of c ognitive, reflective, and affective dimensions (Ardelt, 2003). The cognitive dimension is evaluated by items that assess an understanding of life or the de sire to know the truth (3D-WS Ardelt, 2003). An example of the cognitive component is the following: It is better not to know too much about things that cannot be changed with answ ers ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree). The refl ective dimension assesses an i ndividuals capability to view events from various perspectives and to avoi d layering such events with subjectivity and projections. A sample item from the reflect ive dimension is the following: When I look back on what has happened to me, I cant help feeling resentful with answers ranging from 1 (definitely true of myself) to 5 (not true of myself). The third dimension of wisdom is the affective component, it asse sses altruistic emotions and behavior along with the absence of its opposite emotions and behaviors toward s other sentient beings. A sample item from this dimension is: Some times I feel a real compassion for everyone with answers ranging from 1 (definitely true of myself) to 5 (not true of myself). The wisdom score was derived by averaging the means of the cognitive, affective, and reflective dimensions. Internal consistency of the items measuring the cognitive, reflective, and affective dimensions of the 3D-WS were measured using Cronbachs alpha. The cognitive, reflective, and affective dimensions ha d respective alpha levels of .72, .74, and .77; with overall wisdom having an alpha level of .76.

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20 Along with wisdom and its components, ot her areas were evaluated. Mastery was assessed by Pearlin and Schoolers (1978) Mast ery Scale (Ardelt, 2003). The Mastery Scale consists of seven statements such as Sometimes I feel that Im being pushed around in life with answers ranging from 1 (s trongly agree) to 5 (s trongly disagree). Cronbachs alpha for the Mastery Scale wa s .56. Depression was another measurement taken and was assessed by the CES-D (Radlo ff 1977). The depression scale evaluated a list of emotions possibly felt in the past week of taking the survey such as I did not feel like eating; my appetite was poor with answers ranging from 1 (less than 1 day) to 4 (57 days). Cronbachs alpha for the CES-D was .86. Purpose in life was measured by Crumbaugh and Maholicks (1964) Purpose in Life Test. The PIL assesses an individuals positive and negative emotions towards life e.g. My personal existence often seems meaningless and without purpose with answ ers ranging from 1 (definitely true of myself) to 5 (not true of myself). Cronb achs alpha for PIL was .76. Subjective health was measured by adapted of items from the OARS Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development 1975), the National Survey of the Aged (Shanas 1962, 1982), and the Americans Changing Lives Questionnaire, Wave I (Hous e 1994). A sample question from the subjective health section is How would you rate your overall health at the present time? with answers ranging from 1 (excellent) to 5 (very bad). Cronbachs alpha for the subjective health questions was .61. Gender wa s surveyed with an allowable range of either 1 (female) or 2 (male). Age was meas ured by having subjects list their date of birth. Race was assessed with a range of 1 (white/European ) to 6 (other). Religious/spiritual activities was assessed by how often the subject participated in

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21 spiritual/religious activities with at least one other person in the past month; subjects had a range of 1 (more than 15 times) to 5 (0 times). Meditation experience and practice was a ssessed by several questions. The first question inquired about the frequency of me ditation in a typical week ranging from 1 (never) to 6 (once a day or more). If this question was answered never then respondents did not proceed to further questi ons. The second question inquired about the length of time the person has been practicing meditation with 1 (le ss than 1 year) to 4 (more than 10 years). The third question asked about the length of time the person spends on a single meditation session from 1 (l ess than fifteen minutes) to 4 (more than an hour). The question was phrased medita ting in one sitting assuming that the individual practiced a sedent ary form of meditation. This was important in order to distinguish meditation from yoga or other form s of meditation-in-mo tion. Meditation-inmotion or yoga might cloud the results because it would be difficult to assess whether the act of meditation or physical activity is the primary factor. The final open-ended questions asked the subject to name and descri be the type of medita tion they practice. Again, this was very useful information in distinguishing meditation from forms of relaxation. Analysis All statistical analysis performed used SPSS 12.0 for Windows. Correlation analyses and t-tests were perf ormed to assess differences in wisdom and other variables between those who meditate against those who do not, those who meditate in a group against those who meditate al one and non-meditators, and th ose who meditated at least 60-90 minutes per week against non-meditato rs and those who meditate less than 60 minutes a week.

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22 Materials and Methods for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Participants Six subjects (3 men, 3 women) were chosen to particip ate in the fMRI portion of the study. Three meditators and three non-me ditators were selected (Meditators: 2 women, 1 man, ages 25-50, M = 40.7, SD = 13.7; education 17-18 years, M = 17.7, SD = .58) (Non-meditators: 2 women, 1 man, ag es 20-68, M = 36.3, SD = 27.4; education 1416 years, M = 15.3, SD = 1.15). The six particip ants were not matched in education due to the insignificance of education on affective percepti on. Potential risks and a second informed consent as well as a full MRI safe ty screening were conducted according to the institutional guidelines established by the Heal th Center Institutional Review Board at the University of Florida. Experimental Stimuli Experimental stimuli consisted of 75 pict ures from the International Affective Picture System were presented across five runs (CSEA-NIMH, 1999). Twenty-five pictures from each affective domain were pres ented in an affective block design; negative (valence: 1-3) M = 2.41, positive (valence: 79) M = 7.72, and neutral (valence 4-6) M = 5.03. Experimental Design During each of five functional imaging runs three different affective blocks from each affective domain (see below for design of an affective block) were presented with inter-stimulus-intervals (ISI) of 28.9, 34, and 39.1 sec. were distributed within runs (see below for layout of a single run) in a pseudor andomized order. Inter-stimulus-intervals were presentations of a white blank screen. Participants we re instructed to view the stimuli presented on the screen passively.

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23 17 27.2 28.9 27.2 39.1 27.2 34 sec. Figure 4: The schematic above is an example of a single run. Th e total run length was 200.6 sec. Figure 5: Above is an example of an affective stimulus block (positive) consisting of five interchanging pictures from the Interna tional Affective Picture System shown for a duration of 3.4 sec. and with wh ite blank images shown between for 1.7 sec. for a total block time of 27.2 seconds. Image Acquisition Each experimental run consisted of thr ee 27.2-sec affective blocks during which 16 images were collected. The inter-stimulusinterval baseline state was a blank white screen. The ISI varied in lengths of 28.9, 34, or 39.1 sec (corresponding to 17, 20, and 23 images respectively). To allow for a homogenous magnetic field a 17 sec period was Positive Pos Neg Neut ISI ISI ISI disdaqs

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24 placed at the beginning of each functional r un in which 8 images were collected and subsequently discarded. The length of th e baseline periods, i.e. ISI, was varied pseudorandomly to mitigate low-frequency periodic and quasiperiodic physiological artifacts. Each length of the ISI was us ed once during each run. For each functional imaging run, there were three blocks consis ting of five pictures totaling fifteen IAPS pictures per run. Thus, for each func tional imaging run, there were 8 disdaq1 images, 3 affective blocks of 16 images each, and thr ee baseline cycles consisting of 17, 20, and 23 images for a total of 118 images collected per functional run. By randomizing and having unequal lengths of the baseline conditi on, the onsets of the affective blocks were aperiodic. The length of each affective bloc k did not vary so that a single hemodynamic response could be modeled for each bloc k using the deconvolution technique. Whole brain imaging was performed on a 3.0-T Siemens Allegra scanner. The head was aligned such that the interhemispheric fissure was within 1o of vertical. Before functional image acquisition, structural images were acquired for 124 1.3 mm thick sagittal slices, using a T1-weighted volume acquis ition (TE = 2000 msec, FA = 8 o NEX = 1, FOV = 240 mm, matrix size = 256 x 192. For functional imaging sequences, 32 slices (4.5 mm) were acquired in a sagittal orientation (m atrix size = 64x64). Images were obtained using a gradient-echo EPI ( echo-planar imaging) sequence using the following parameters: TE = 25 msec, TR = 1700 msec, FA = 70o FOV = 240 mm. Image Analysis Functional images were analyzed and overlaid onto anatomic images with Analysis of Functional Neuroimages (AFNI) software (Cox, 1996). To lessen the effects 1 Disdaq images are those images removed/discarded prior to full processing of functional datasets.

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25 of head motion, the time series were spatially registered in 3-D sp ace to the coordinates of the first functional run whic h immediately followed the anatomical scan. Images were visually inspected for artifacts. For each da taset, the mean slice signal intensities were normalized to the grand mean of slice intens ity across all functional runs. Voxels where the standard deviation of the signal change exceeded 8% of the mean signal were set to zero to decrease large vessel effects and residual motion artifact. The first eight images were dropped from each functional run to allow for a homogenous magnetic field. Dropping the eight images from each run brought a total of 112 images per run with five functional r uns. The runs were concatenated in chronological order into a single time series of 560 images for each of the 32 functional image slices. After concaten ation of the time series, the time series was deconvolved from the 560-image time series on a voxel-by-v oxel basis. Each hemodynamic response (HDR) was modeled using a maxlag of 25 TR periods following the onset of the first picture in an affective block. The long maxlag of 25 TR was used in order to capture the entire HDR from its onset to its return to baseline. For each voxel, a single HDR was deconvolved for all affective blocks and sepa rately for positive, negative, and neutral blocks. Anatomic and functional images were interpolated to volumes with 1-mm3 voxels, coregistered, and converted to the stereo taxic coordinate space of Talairach and Tournoux (Talairach & Tournoux, 1988) using AFNI In order to discriminate between baseline and affective stimulus a separate deconvolution was performed following the onset of baseline periods. Five deconvolutions were carried out for each subjects fMRI data: (1) time locked to positive affect bloc ks only, (2) time-locked to negative affect

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26 blocks only, (3) time-locked to neutral affect blocks only, (4) time-locked to all affect blocks, and (5) time-locked to baseline. Following the baseline-deconvolution an R2 voxel-wise distribution dump file was created for time-locked to negative affect blocks only, time-locked all affect block and time-lo cked to baseline deconvolution datasets. The R2 distributions for each subject were co mpared using the Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test to detect significant differences between timelocked negative affect blocks only to timelocked to baseline as well as time-locked a ll affect blocks to time-locked baseline. Further KS tests of the negative or neutra l time-locked datasets to the time-locked baseline condition were not performed due to lack of significant activity in either deconvolution datasets. Following the KS te st, a whole-brain cluster analyses was performed on each subject for all affective blocks as well as positive, negative, and neutral deconvolution datasets. Clus ter reports had thresholds of 0.16 R2 and volume threshold of 100 l. The low number of s ubjects prohibited an ANO VA based testing. Clusters were localized and a descriptive ROI analysis was performed on group data. Groups were contrasted between meditators and non-meditators. ROI t-tests were performed on a few regions.

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27 CHAPTER 3 RESULTS Wisdom Surveys Meditators versus Non-Meditators T-tests were performed to detect signif icant differences between meditators and non-meditators with regard to wisdom, mast ery, purpose in life, depression, subjective health, education, age, and reli gious activities. In testing differences between meditators and non-meditators, no threshold for the am ount of time an individual practices was applied. Therefore meditators were classi fied according to thos e who answered about once a week to the question in a typical week, how ofte n do you practice meditation? From all the participants who took the surve y, 13 were classified as non-meditators and 29 meditators according to their response to this question. No significant differences in age, gender or education were found. Meditators had a significantly higher scor e than non-meditators on wisdom (t = 2.932; p = .006). In analyzing the components of the wisdom survey, the two groups did not significantly differ in th e cognitive dimension but did differ in the reflective domain (t = -2.619; p = .0012). An even greater diffe rence was discovered in the affective domain (t = -3.898; p = .000) and insignificant differences were found in the cognitive dimension (t = -0.610; p = .546). In both the reflective and a ffective domains, the meditators had a higher mean score than non-me ditators. No signifi cant differences were found in self-mastery (t = -1.628; p = 0.111) but meditators also had a significantly

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28 higher purpose in life score (t = -5.038; p = .000), a higher s ubjective health rating (t = 2.029; p = .049), and fewer depressive symptoms (t = 1.81; p = .08). Meditators scored higher in the religious activities component (t = -1.915; p = .063). The meditators and non-meditators were found to have no significan t difference in the demographic statistics of education (t = 0.876; p = 0.386), gender (t = 0.447; p = 0.347), age (t = 0.772; p = 0.225), and race (t = 0.090; p = 0.426). Table 1: Group statistics of meditators and non-meditators in the various portions of the survey. Group Statistics Meditato rs vs Non-Meditators meditate N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean No 13 3.9835 0.47573 0.13194 Cognitive Yes 29 4.0665 0.37503 0.06964 No 13 3.8654 0.43105 0.11955 Reflective Yes 29 4.2040 0.36704 0.06816 No 13 3.4320 0.47371 0.13138 Affective Yes 29 3.9708 0.38594 0.07167 No 13 3.7603 0.39987 0.11090 Wisdom Yes 29 4.0804 0.29040 0.05393 No 13 3.7473 0.62312 0.17282 Mastery Yes 29 4.0296 0.46820 0.08694 No 13 3.6667 0.83887 0.23266 Purpose in Life Yes 29 4.6322 0.41159 0.07643 No 13 1.4692 0.45210 0.12539 Depression Yes 29 1.2569 0.29813 0.05536 No 13 3.7308 0.69568 0.19295 Subj Health Yes 29 4.2931 0.88153 0.16370 No 13 17.2308 2.65059 0.73514 Education Yes 29 16.5172 2.34324 0.43513 No 13 0.4615 0.51887 0.14391 Gender Yes 29 0.6207 0.49380 0.09170 No 13 50.8462 16.43597 4.55852 Age Yes 29 44.4483 15.17184 2.81734 No 13 0.9231 0.27735 0.07692 Race Yes 29 0.8276 0.38443 0.07139 No 13 2.3846 0.76795 0.21299 Religious Activities Yes 29 3.0000 1.03510 0.19221

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29 Group Based Meditators versus Non-gro up Based Meditators and Non-Meditators The group based analysis was performed to analyze a possible greater significant difference between those who meditate in gr oups versus non-group ba sed meditators and non-meditators. The rationale was that perh aps the changes brought about via meditation practice could be attributed to a group phenomenon rather than to a phenomenon of meditation practice. If significant differen ces in domains not previously found to be different are discovered then the results c ould demonstrate that being a member of a spiritual group might be a f actor to consider in additi on to meditation. There were 24 group-based meditators and 18 respondents who either did not belong to a specific group or were non-meditators. Group based subjects had a significantly higher wisdom score (t = -2.020; p = 0.050). Group meditators were found to have a higher scores in the reflective and affective dimensions, with significant differenc es in the reflective (t = -1.905; p = .064) and affective (t = -2.56; p =0.014) dimens ions of wisdom. Again no significant differences were found in the cognitive di mension (t = -0.397; p =0.694). Mastery was again not found to be significant (t = -0.392; p = 0.697). Group meditators had significantly higher score in the components of purpose in life (t = -3.579; p = 0.001) and subjective health (t = -2.129; p = 0.039). Non-group meditators were found to have a significant higher score in the depression sc ale (t =2.007; p = 0.052) Group meditators were found to have a greater participation in religious activities (t = -3.359; p = 0.002). Again none of the demographic statistics were found to be significantly different between the two measured groups (age: p = 0.871, education: p = 0.552, gender: p = 0.861, and race: p = 0.711).

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30 Table 2: Group statistics of group based meditators and non-meditators/non-group based meditators in the various portions of the survey. Group Statistics of Group Based Meditators vs. Non-Group Based Meditators and Non-Meditators Meditation group N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean no 18 4.0119 0.44049 0.10382 Cognitive yes 24 4.0625 0.38397 0.07838 no 18 3.9630 0.41146 0.09698 Reflective yes 24 4.2014 0.39388 0.08040 no 18 3.5983 0.52342 0.12337 Affective yes 24 3.9583 0.38893 0.07939 no 18 3.8577 0.39295 0.09262 Wisdom yes 24 4.0741 0.30171 0.06159 no 18 3.9048 0.61592 0.14517 Mastery yes 24 3.9702 0.46716 0.09536 no 18 3.9259 0.86739 0.20445 Purpose In Life yes 24 4.6389 0.39215 0.08005 no 18 1.4472 0.42650 0.10053 Depression yes 24 1.2292 0.27699 0.05654 no 18 3.8056 0.68897 0.16239 Subj Health yes 24 4.3542 0.91461 0.18669 no 18 17.0000 2.52050 0.59409 Education yes 24 16.5417 2.39980 0.48986 no 18 0.5556 0.51131 0.12052 Gender yes 24 0.5833 0.50361 0.10280 no 18 46.8889 18.69850 4.40728 Age yes 24 46.0833 13.35768 2.72662 no 18 0.8333 0.38348 0.09039 Race yes 24 0.8750 0.33783 0.06896 no 18 2.2778 0.75190 0.17723 Religious Activities yes 24 3.2083 0.97709 0.19945 Threshold Meditators When applying the threshold of 60-90 minutes a week to qualify as a meditator in the final analyses, there were 24 meditators and 18 non-med itators. Twenty-three of the 24 group-based meditators indicated that they meditated at least 60-90 minutes a week, whereas only one of the non-group meditato rs reported to mediate for at least 6090 minutes a week. Threshold meditators scored higher in the dimensions of reflec tive (t = -1.696; p = 0.098) and affective (t = -2.377; p = 0.022) but no significant di fferences were discovered

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31 in the cognitive dimension (t = -0.782; p = 0.439). Wisdom was significantly higher in threshold meditators (t = 2.207; p = 0.049). Threshold med itators had a significantly higher purpose in life (t = -3.579; p =0.001) and subjective health rating (t = -2.129 ; p =0.039). No differences were found in self-m astery but non-thres hold meditators had a higher depression rating (t =2.207 ; p =0.033). Threshold medita tors participate more in religious activities (t =-2.527; p = 0.016). No signifi cant differences were found in the two groups demographic statistics (age: p =0.615, education: p =0.733, race: p =0.711, and gender: p =0.430). Table 3: Group statistics of threshold meditators and non-meditators/non-threshold meditators in the various portions of the survey. Group Statistics Meditation Thr eshold vs Non-Threshold Medita tors and Non-Meditators Meditation threshold N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean No 18 3.9841 0.43796 0.10323 Cognitive Yes 24 4.0833 0.38186 0.07795 No 18 3.9769 0.42280 0.09966 Reflective Yes 24 4.1910 0.39124 0.07986 No 18 3.6111 0.53650 0.12645 Affective Yes 24 3.9487 0.38473 0.07853 No 18 3.8574 0.39267 0.09255 Wisdom Yes 24 4.0743 0.30178 0.06160 No 18 3.8968 0.60372 0.14230 Mastery Yes 24 3.9762 0.47784 0.09754 No 18 3.9259 0.86739 0.20445 Purpose In Life Yes 24 4.6389 0.39215 0.08005 No 18 1.4583 0.42087 0.09920 Depression Yes 24 1.2208 0.27620 0.05638 No 18 3.8056 0.68897 0.16239 Subj Health Yes 24 4.3542 0.91461 0.18669 No 18 16.8889 2.56421 0.60439 Education Yes 24 16.6250 2.37857 0.48552 No 18 0.5000 0.51450 0.12127 Gender Yes 24 0.6250 0.49454 0.10095 No 18 45.0000 19.52977 4.60321 Age Yes 24 47.5000 12.34645 2.52021 No 18 0.8333 0.38348 0.09039 Race Yes 24 0.8750 0.33783 0.06896 No 18 2.3889 0.84984 0.20031 Religious Activities Yes 24 3.1250 0.99181 0.20245

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32 Functional Imaging Results After performing deconvolution on the timelocked baseline and time-locked all and negative affect blocks I performed a Ko lmogorov-Smirnoff test. All p-values for the KS test were p < .0001 therefor e a descriptive base d analysis was performed. Rejecting the null hypothesis in the KS test demonstrates that the deconvolved HDRs fit the data differently in the different cases of deconvolution. All Affect Based Deconvolution T-Tests After localizing the various clusters, various t-tests we re performed to ascertain any significant differences in possible globa l asymmetries between meditators and nonmeditators. Significant differences could not be demonstrated because of the low n of subjects scanned in addition to the presence of individual differences in the subjects datasets. After t-tests of de signated regions of interest (R OI) were performed an attempt was made to perform non-parametric statistica l tests (i.e. Mann-Whitney test). The nonparametric tests failed to demonstrate signifi cant differences. A decision was made to forego statistical tests of difference and move into a descriptive analysis. All Affect Based Deconvolution Descriptive Analysis In analyzing the cluster reports, the data was aggregated into meditators and nonmeditators. After localizing all clusters, clusters were grouped into various ROIs e.g. BA 6 Middle Frontal Gyrus and BA 9 Superi or Frontal Gyrus were grouped into the Frontal lobe region in thei r respective hemisphere. In looking at hemispheric asymmetries on a whole-brain level some inte resting findings were discovered (see pie charts below).

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33 Non-Meditators Left vs Right Global89945, 89% 11657, 11% Left Right Meditators Left vs Right Global23633, 27% 62482, 73% Right Left Figure 6: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting hemispheric activity according to volu me size. The red and blue pie charts above the aggregated non-meditators give th e breakdown of each individual nonmeditator subject. The blue and yell ow pie charts above the aggregated meditator data is the breakdown of each indivi dual meditator subject. Meditator S02 Left vs Right Hemisphere 4078, 34% 7914, 66% L R Right Left Non-meditator s00 Left vs Right Hemisphere3344, 14% 21082, 86% L R Right Left Non-meditator s01 Left vs Right Hemisphere 63261, 91% 6347, 9% R L Right Left Non-meditator s05 Left Vs Right Hemisphere 1966, 26% 5602, 74% L R Right Left Meditator s03 Left vs Right Hemisphere 53257, 87% 7960, 13% L R Left Right Meditator s04 Left vs Right Hemisphere 5147, 40% 7759, 60% L R Left Right

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34 The aggregated cluster data show that in the all based level 89% of the nonmeditator group data were isolated to the ri ght hemisphere with a total volume size of 89945 l compared to only 27% of the med itator group with a total volume size of 23633 l. The aggregated cluster data for the frontal region showed slight differences hemispheric activity. Non-meditators righ t frontal region accounted for 47% of all frontal activity with a volume size of 3694 l while meditators right frontal region accounted for 54% of all frontal activity with a volume size of 4505 l. Table 4: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (l). Non-meditator Right Left S00 269 1068 S01 2995 3043 S05 430 0 Meditator S02 689 1921 S03 3346 1844 S04 470 137 Non-Meditators Frontal Left vs Right 3694, 47% 4111, 53% LeftRight Meditators Frontal Right vs Left 4505, 54% 3902, 46% Ri g ht Left Figure 7: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting frontal lobe hemispheric activity according to volume size. In assessing limbic activity, limbic system structures were aggregated in their proper hemispheric location and then total activity was summed in accordance with the

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35 two groups. Limbic activity in meditato rs had a total volume of 5626 l and nonmeditators had a total volume of 4212 l. In non-meditators 73% of limbic activity was isolated to the right hemisphe re as opposed to meditators whose right hemisphere limbic activity was only 40%. Table 5: Individual subject data of volume of left and right limbic activity (l). Non-meditator Right Left S00 1351 208 S01 1292 931 S05 430 0 Meditator S02 1639 1261 S03 117 1718 S04 470 421 Figure 8: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting limbic system hemispheric activity according to volume size. The occipital region between the two groups showed differences with right hemisphere dominant in non-meditators and th e left hemisphere dominant in meditators. Non-meditators right occipital region account ed for 91% of total occipital volume as opposed to only 35% of total oc cipital activity in meditators. Non-Meditators Right vs Left Limbic System 3073, 73% 1139, 27% Left Right Meditators Right vs Left Limbic System 2226, 40% 3400, 60% Right Left

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36 Table 7: Individual subject data of volume of left and right occipital activity (l). Non-meditator Right Left S00 19017 844 S01 0 460 S05 2989 953 Meditator S02 1311 301 S03 228 3944 S04 1654 1712 Non-Meditators Occipital Right vs Left22006, 91% 2257, 9% 1 2 Right Left Meditators Occipital Right vs Left3193, 35% 5957, 65% 1 2 Right Left Figure 9: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting occipital lobe hemispheric activity according to volume size. Affect Based Deconvolution Affect based deconvolution produced significantly lower R2 values which in turn affect cluster reports. In creating the cluster repo rts a threshold of an R2 0.16 and a volume size of 100 l was implemented. This threshold caused many cluster reports of affect based datasets to be absent of clus ters that met the threshold criteria. Not surprisingly all subjects ne gative based datasets had sufficient activity to produce clusters that met the cluster report criteria. Therefore in evaluating affect based datasets only negative based datasets were assessed since all subjects were included in the analysis.

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37 Non-meditators total right hemisphere volume activity accounted for 24% of total activity with a volume of 5638 l and meditato rs right hemisphere activity accounted for 38% of total activity with a volume of 6188 l. Table 6: Individual subject data of volume of left and right activity (l). Non-meditator Right Left S00 3202 1412 S01 664 1713 S05 1772 14544 Meditator S02 616 0 S03 4399 9063 S04 1173 930 Non-Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Global5638, 24% 17669, 76% Right Left Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Global6188, 38% 9993, 62% Left Right Figure 9: Aggregated data of me ditators and non-meditators depicting hemispheric activity according to volu me size during presentation of negative affective stimuli. In assessing frontal lobe activity non-medita tors right frontal ac tivity accounted for 41% of total frontal activity with a volume 4633 l of while meditators right frontal activity accounted for 59% of total activity w ith a volume of 932 l More interesting than the ratio of activity to hemispheres is the total frontal region activity. Nonmeditators total frontal region activity volume was 11172 l while meditators total volume was 1573 l.

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38 Table 7: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (l). Non-meditator Right Left S00 3202 1412 S01 0 1713 S05 1431 3414 Meditator S02 0 0 S03 932 641 S04 0 0 Non-Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Frontal4633, 41% 6539, 59% Right Left Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Frontal932, 59% 641, 41% Right Left Figure 10: Aggregated data of me ditators and non-meditators de picting frontal lobe hemispheric activity according to volu me size during presentation of negative affective stimuli. Non-meditators right occipi tal activity accounted for 43% of total occipital activity as opposed to meditators whose right hemis phere occipital activity accounted for 65% of total occipital volume.

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39 Table 8: Individual subject data of volume of left and right occipital activity (l). Non-meditator Right Left S00 430 296 S01 519 0 S05 0 972 Meditator S02 616 0 S03 1260 934 S04 133 125 Non-Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Occipital949, 43% 1268, 57% Right Left Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Occipital2009, 65% 1059, 35% Left Right Figure 11: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting occipital lobe hemispheric activity according to volu me size during presentation of negative affective stimuli. Not enough limbic activity was present in the datasets to make a reasonable comparison.

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40 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION Wisdom Surveys One of the groups to participate in this study was the Science of Spirituality which is a non-profit, non-denominational organization that is headed by Sant Rajinder Singh. In Sant Rajinder Singhs book on meditation, he captures the transformational process that is the motivational factor behind many practitioners que st to begin and maintain a meditative practice, Through meditation, a whole new world opens up for us. By learning meditation, we can gain entry through a doorway that leads us to worlds of bliss, light, and love within (Singh, 1999, p. 132). Fr om another point-of-view, the heart of a meditation practice is the cultivation of awareness. As stated by a popular Buddhist psychiatrist, Mark Epstein M.D., Break ing identification through the power of awareness is the great contri bution of the meditative approach, and it is inevitably therapeutic (Epste in, 1995, p. 125). The results from the 3D-WS show an in teresting pattern of significance. In looking at the components of wisdom (cognitive, affective, and reflective dimensions) only two of the components are significantly di fferent between the groups tested. In each case tested meditators scored higher in re flective and affective domains with affective being slightly more significant in each case. If meditation is s ynonymous with only one word, that word would be awareness. Arde lt states about the re flective domain, one

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41 needs to engage in reflective thinking by looking at phenomena and events from many different perspectives to develop self-awa reness and self-insi ght (Ardelt, 2003, p.278). The practice of meditation is a process of developing self-awa reness and insight. If the meditator is engaging in self-awareness then the affective domains greater significant difference suggests that engagi ng in self-awareness might produ ce altruistic emotions. In discussing the improvement of affective emo tions, Ardelt states that the improvement would likely be brought about by a diminished self-centere dness (Ardelt, 2003). Selfcenteredness hinges upon the presence of a w holly intact ego that takes a position of subjectivity in the flow of life. Writing on the developmen tal process of humanity, Ken Wilber writes, far from being some sort of narcissistic withdrawal or inward isolation, meditation is a simple and natural continuati on of the evolutionary process, where every going within is also a going beyond to a wider embrace (Wilber, 2000b, p. 263). The widening of awareness naturally brings about a previously discussed notion of aperspectival awareness. With this awaren ess a less and less subjec tive experience would arise which would lead one towards empa thy and compassion brought about via the ability to be a witness fo r all sentient beings. In all three cases, the cognitive domain failed to provide significant differences. Previously it was mentioned that the cogniti ve component is comprised of items that assess an understanding of lif e or the pursuit of truth. The relatively high level of education among the participants explain the lack of cogn itive significant difference. Even though Ardelt (2003) didnt find a strong correlation between education and wisdom she later mentions that those in pur suit of wisdom would likely seek advanced degrees. In a correlation analys is of wisdom with the three cases the strongest correlation

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42 with wisdom wasnt the length of time one spends per week in individual or group meditation (r = 0.305; p = 0.049) or group me ditative practice (r = 0.304; p = 0.05) but whether an individual medita tes at all (r = 0.421; p = 0.006). Perhaps the willingness to engage in a practice that fac ilitates transformation is a st rong indicator of wisdom. Ardelt (2003) discussed the differences be tween wisdoms of different cultures. Meditation has a long history in Eastern culture particularly in the religious traditions of Buddhism. The enhancement of wisdom am ong meditators may reveal what Ardelt (2003) stated, Eastern wisdom traditions tend to integrate the cognitive, reflective, and affective elements of wisdom. In the Eastern wisdom traditions, wisdom is characterized by flexibility, honesty, sensitivity, understand ing, compassion, altruism, and a balanced state of mind that is able to perceive and accept the reality of the present moment (Ardelt, 2003, p. 283). In Path to Bliss the Dalai Lama commen ts on the two types of wisdom, the wisdom examining the ultimate natures of phenomena, and then wisdom examining the conventional or relative nature of phenomena (Lama, 1991, p. 192). The 3D-WS examines both types of wisdom in the three dimensions. The lack of significant difference in a ll cases in the area of mastery is not a surprise. The items that comprise the mast ery scale tend to revolve around the issue of helplessness. I would hypothesize that individua ls with the level of education present in the participants would tend to reveal a sense of mastery via their higher educational pursuits. Revisiting the therapeutic nature of meditation, I find it very plausible that purpose in life and subjective health are hi gher in meditators than non-meditators. Meditators, group meditators, and threshold me ditators all show si gnificantly higher purpose in life (all groups p < .01) and subjective health (all groups p < .05) scores. The

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43 significant difference between meditators and non-meditators on the depression scale further supports the claim of meditation as a therapeutic prac tice. Non-meditators scored significantly higher on the depres sion scale which evaluates th e psychological state of an individual over the past w eek. This finding supports previous research and suggests meditation is a therapy practice like Kaba t-Zinns Mindfulness based therapy. Education had no significant correlation w ith any dimension indicating that the survey accurately detects a type of knowledge not found within the educational system. A wise individual is sometimes depicted as an elder individual perhap s with gray or white hair but the correlation analysis showed a ne gative correlation be tween age and wisdom (r = -0.341; p = .027). No further demographi c statistics were found to be significant with any area of the survey except that ge nder correlated positively with the affective domain (r = 0.336; p = 0.029). Gender was coded 1 for females therefore female participants were shown to be significantly different than their male counterparts in the affective domain. Functional Imaging The functional imaging data provided no st atistically significant data. The low n of each group was sufficient for the task of a pilot study investigating possible differences in brain activation between meditators and non-meditators. In th e time-locked to all affect based deconvolution analysis, the in teresting finding of a more pronounced right hemisphere dominance in non-meditators than in meditators provi des an interesting framework for launching future studies. According to Lee (2004) the asymmetries of emotion have found general right hemisphere dominance in the perception of emotion. This asymmetry was clearly present for non-med itators but less so (o r even reversed) for meditators, in data aggragated over the hemi spheres or in data restricted to limbic

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44 structures. Hemispheric asymmetry was less cons istent for frontal or occipital regions of interest. In the negative affect dataset as ymmetry does not show a consistent difference between non-meditators and meditators. Lang & Bradley (1998) found that using affective stimulation right hemisphere activation was greater than left. Future Research The possible underlying mechanisms for th is neurological shift are not widely understood since repeat scans of meditators viewing affective stimuli have not been conducted. This study was a pilot to assess possible avenues for future research to explore differences between meditators a nd non-meditators in the neuroimaging of emotion. With the data collected from this study I woul d propose a study that analyzes non-meditators who undergo meditation training. The same design of affective picture stimuli could be implemented to analyze po ssible volumetric and la terality differences over the course of meditation training. Th is study should utilize information derived from the 3D-WS. It is important that fu ture studies have control over their sample population in order to isolate possible variables that could account for the variation in data. Whether fMRI or some other form of non-invasive tech nology is utilized in examining meditation, it should always be used in conjunction with behavioral assessment in order to properly document a ll of the possible changes brought about through the practice of meditati on. The transformations of meditation practice are not widely understood so future studies should de velop protocols that assess many areas of the subject. Conclusion This study has confirmed that Wilbers theory of the right half and left half of the four-quadrant system is an ongoing reciprocal relationship that can be shown through the

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45 experimentation process. T hus the interdisciplinary natu re of the study helped to demonstrate the integral nature of meditation and that meditation is an ancient practice that can be studied today via modern t echnology and methods. Its introduction to Western culture on a mass level during the 1960s has transformed meditation from a counter-culture practice to common practice as well as a therapy utilized in medicine. If this study adds to the body of literature supporting the idea that meditation does indeed provide a transformation within the body and mind of individuals then I feel I have accomplished what I set forth to do.

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46 REFERENCE LIST Ardelt, M. (2000). Intellectual versus wisdom -related knowledge: The case for a differenct kind of learning in the later years of life. Educational Gerontology 26, 771-789. Ardelt, M. (2003). Empirical assessment of a three-dimensional wisdom scale. Research on Aging 25, 275-324. Ardelt, M. (2004). Wisdom as expert kno wledge system: A critical review of contemporary operationalization of an ancient concept. Human Development 47, 257-285. Benson, H., Malhotra, M.S., Gold man, R.F., Jacobs, G. D., Hopkins, J. (19 90). Three case reports of the metabolic and electroen cephalographic changes during advanced Buddhist meditati on techniques. Behavioral Medicine 16, 90-95. Cardoso, R., de Souza, E., Ca mano, L., & Leite, J.R. (2004). Meditation in health: an Operational definition. Brain Research Protocols 14, 58-60. Center for the Study of Aging a nd Human Development. (1975). Multidimensional functional assessment: The OARS methodology (1st ed.). Durham, NC: Center for the Study of Aging an d Human Development. Chen, N., Dickey, C., Yoo, S., Gu ttmann, C., & Panych, L. (2003). Selection of voxel size and slice orientation of fMRI in the pr esence of susceptibility field gradients: Application to imagin g of the amygdala. NeuroImage 19, 817-825. Cox, R. (1996). AFNI: Software for analysis and visualization of functional magnetic resonance neuroimages. Computational Biomedical Research 29, 162-173. Cox, R. (2003, October) Basics of MR Physics and FMRI. Presentation to Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Crumbaugh, J.C., & Maholick, L.T. (1964). An experimental study in existentialism: The Psychometric approach to Frankls Concept of Noogenic neurosis. Journal of Clinical Psychology 20, 200-207. Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention [CSEA-NIMH] (2001). The international affective picture syst em: Digitized photographs Gainesville, FL: The Center for Research in Psychophysiology University of Florida. Davidson, R.J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S.F., Urbanowski, F., Harr ington, A., Bonus, K., & Sheridan, J.F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune functi on produced by mindfu lness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine 65, 564-570.

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47 Epstein, M. (1995). Thoughts without a thinker: Psyc hotherapy from a Buddhist perspective New York, NY: Basic Books. Epstein, M. & Lieff, J. (1986). Transformations of consciousness. K. Wilber, J. Engler, & D.P. Brown (Ed .), Psychiatric complications of meditation practice (pp. 53-64). Boston, MA: New Scie nce Library. Gillani, N.B., & Smith, J.C. (2001). Zen meditation and ABC relaxation theory: An exploration of relaxation states, be liefs, dispositions, and motivations. Journal of Clinical Psychology 57, 839-846. Goleman, D. (1988). The meditative mind New York: Tarcher Putnam, 1988. Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Wa lach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health bene fits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 57, 35-43. Hagelin, J.S., Rainforth, M.V ., Orme-Johnson, D.W., Cavanau gh, K.L, Alexa nder, C.N., Shatkin, S.F., Davies, J.L ., Hughes, A.O., & Ross, E. (1999). Effects of group practice of the Transcendental Meditati on program on preventing violent crime in Washington, D.C.: Results of the national demonstration project, June-July 1993. Social Indicators Research 47, 153-201. House, J.S. (1994). Americans changing lives: Wave I and Wave II, 1986 and 1989. ICPSR Version [Computer File]. An n Arbor: University of Michigan, Survey Research Center. Iverson, S., Kupfermann, I., & Kandel, E.R. (2000). Emotiona l states and feelings. In E.R. Kandel, J. H. Schwar tz, & T.M. Jessel (Eds.)., Emotional States (4th ed., pp. 982-997). New York: McGraw-Hill. James, W. (1986). The varieties of religious experience New York, NY: Penguin Books USA Inc. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. Kabat-Zinn, J., Miller, J.J., & Fletcher, K. (1995). Three-ye ar follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulne ss meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. General Hospital Pyschiatry 17, 192-200. Kasamatsu, A. & Hirai, T. (1966). An el ectroencephalographic study on the zen meditation (Zazen). Folia Psychiatry Neurology Japan 20, 315-36.

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48 Klein, S., Smolka, M.N., Wrase, J., Gruesser, S.M., Mann, K., Braus, D.F., & Heinz, A. (2003). The influence of gender and emo tional valence of visual cues on fMRI activation in humans. Pharmacopsychiatry 36, 191-194. Lama, H.H.D., (1991). Path to bliss: A practical guide to stages of meditation Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications. Lang, P.J., Bradley, M.M., & Cuthbert, B.N. (2001). International affe ctive picture system (IAPS): Instructi on manual and affective ratings Technical Report A-5. Gainesville, FL: The Center for Res earch in Psychophysiology, University of Florida. Lang, P.J., Bradley, M.M., Fitzsimmons, J.R., Cu thbert, B.N., Scott, J.D., Moulder, B, & Nangia, V. (1998). Emotional Arousal a nd activation of the visual cortex: An fMRI analysis. Psychophysiology 35, 199-210. Lee, G.P., Meador, K.J., Loring, D.W., Allison, J. D., Brown, W.S., Paul, L.K., Pillai, J.J., & Lavin, T.B. (2004). Neural substrates of emotion as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Cognitive Behavioral Neurology 17, 9-17. Lutz, A., Greischar, L.L., Rawlings, N.B., Ricardi, M., & Davidson, R.J. (2004). Longterm meditators self-induce high-am plitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101(46), 1636916373. Ogawa, S., Lee, T.M., Kay, A.R., & Tank, D. W. (1990). Brain magnetic resonance imaging with contrast dependent on blood oxygenation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 87, 9868-9872. Pearlin, L.I., & Schooler, C. (1978) The structure of coping. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 19, 2-21. Radloff, L.S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self -report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Physiological Measurement 1, 385-401. Roush, W. (1997). Herbert Benson: Mi nd-body maverick pushes the envelope. Science 276 (5311), 357-359. Sabatinelli, D, Flaisch, T., Bradley, M.M., Fitzsimmons, J.R., & Lang, P.J. (2004). Affective picture perception: gende r differences in visual cortex? Neuroreport 15 (7), 1109-1112. Saver, J.L. & Rabin, J. (1997) The neural substrates of religious experience. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 9, 498-510.

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49 Shanas, E. (1962). The health of older people: A social survey Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Shanas, E. (1982 ). National survey of the aged DHSS Publication No. (OHDS) 8320425. Washington, DC: Office of Human Development Services, Administration on Aging, U.S. Departme nt of Health and Human Services. Shapira, N.A., Liu, Y., He, A.G., Bradley, M. M., Lessig, M.C., James, G.A., Stein, D.J., Lang, P.J., & Goodman, W.K. (2003). Brain activation by disgust-inducing pictures obsessive-compulsive disorder. Society of Biolog ical Psychiatry 54, 751-756. Singh, R.J. (1999). Empowering your soul through meditation Boston, MA: Element Books, Inc. Solberg, E.E., Ekeberg, O., Holen, A., Ingjer, F., Sandvik, L., Standal, P.A., & Vikman, A. (2004). Hemodynamic changes during long meditation. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 29(3), 213-221. Stein, J. (2004) The Science of Meditation. Time 162 (5), 48-57. Takahashi, T., Murata, T., Hamada, T., Omor i, M., Kosaka, H., Kikuchi, M., Yoshida, H., & Wada, Y. (2005). Changes in EEG and autonomic nervous activity during meditation and their associati on with personality traits. International Journal of Psychophysiology 55, 199-207. Talairach, J. & Tournoux, P. (1988). Co-planar stereotactic stlas of the human brain Stuttgart: Thieme. Tart, C. (1969). Altered states of consci ousness: A book of readings New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Wager, T.D., Phan, K.L., Liberzon, I., & Ta ylor, S.F. (2003). Valence, gender, lateralization of functiona l brain anatomy in emotion: a meta-analysis of findings from neuroimaging. Neuroimage 19, 513-531. Walsh, R. & Vaughan, F. (1993). Paths beyond ego: The transpersonal vision New York: Tarcher Putnam. White, K. (2003, Fall). MR physics in 20 minutes: A talk from hell Crosson Neuroimaging lab meeting, Gainesville, Florida. Wilber, K. (1983). Up from Eden: A transpersonal view of human evolution Boulder, CO: Shambhala. Wilber, K (2000a). Integral psychology: Consciousn ess, spirit, psychology, therapy

PAGE 60

50 Boston, MA: Shambhala. Wilber, K (2000b). Sex, ecology, spirituality: The spirit of evolution Boston, MA: Shambhala.

PAGE 61

51 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Marc Franklin Kurtzman was born in Tampa, Florida, on October 17, 1981. He graduated from Sickles High School in 2000 and r eceived his Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, in May 2004. During Marcs junior year he was accepte d into the combined Bachelor's/Maste'rs program in the Department of Religious St udies. From August 2003 to July 2005, Marc Kurtzman was employed as a neuroimagi ng research assistant in the Crosson Neuroimaging Lab and a part of the neuroi maging core at the Malcom Randall V.A. Medical Centers Brain Rehabili tation Research Center. Marcs interests are in the role of religious activities and their possible effects upon the psyche and brain.


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FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING OF EMOTIONAL
REACTIVITY AND WISDOM ASSESSMENT OF MEDITATORS AND
NON-MEDITATORS
















By

MARC F. KURTZMAN


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005


































Copyright 2005

by

Marc F. Kurzman


































To my parents: thank you for continuing to believe in me















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my family, mentors, and colleagues for their continued

support. I thank my mentors, Dr. Shaya Isenberg, Dr. Lou Ritz, and Dr. Gene Thursby,

for their support and encouragement on such an ambitious project. I thank the University

of Florida Center for Spirituality and Health for the support and vision of

interdisciplinary research. I thank the many people who made this work possible: Shaya

Isenberg, Ph.D., Lou Ritz Ph.D., Gene Thursby Ph.D., Monika Ardelt Ph.D., Keith White

Ph.D., Tim Conway Ph.D., Bruce Crosson Ph.D., Keith McGregor B.S., and Katie

MacElhannon B.S.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST O F TA BLE S ............................... ............ ... ............ .. vii

L IST O F F IG U R E S .......................................................................... ..... viii

CHAPTER

1: IN TR OD U CTION .................. ............................. ....... ...... .............. .

A n Integralist A approach .............................. .. ................ ... ....... .. ... ................ 1
M meditation : A D definition ............................................................... ...................... 5
Previous R research in M editation............................................ ........... ............... 6
W isd om ................... .. ............................................ 9
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging .............................. ........................11
N euroim aging E m option ...................................................................... ..................12
H y p o th e sis ................................................................16
W isd om ............... ....................... ............................................... 16
Functional Im aging................................................. 16

2 : M E T H O D S .............................................................................18

Materials and Methods for Wisdom Assessment .........................18
Participants ........................................................................... ............................. 18
Survey Instrum ents ............................................. .. ...... .......... ..... 19
A naly sis ................................................... ... .. ...... .............. 2 1
Materials and Methods for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging...................22
P articip an ts ................................................................2 2
E xperim mental Stim uli ........... .................................. ................... ............... 22
E x p erim ental D esign ............................................... ......................................22
Im ag e A cqu isition .............................. .... ...................... .. ........ .... ............2 3
Im ag e A n aly sis ..............................................................24

3 : R E S U L T S ..............................................................................2 7

W wisdom Survey s....................................................... .. .... ...... .... ......... 27
M editators versus N on-M editators ............................. ................................... 27




v









Group Based Meditators versus Non-group Based Meditators and Non-
M e d ita to rs ...............................................................................................................2 9
Threshold M editators .................. ........................... .. ....... .. ........ .... 30
F functional Im aging R results ............................................................ .............................32
All Affect Based Deconvolution T-Tests..........................................................32
All Affect Based Deconvolution Descriptive Analysis....................................32
A effect B ased D econvolution ........................................ .......... ............... 36

4 : D IS C U S S IO N .......................................................................................................... 4 0

W isdom Su rvey s........... ............................................................................... .. ...... .. 4 0
Functional Im aging .............................................................. .... ........43
F utu re R research ................................................................44
C conclusion ...................................................................................................... ....... 44

R E F E R E N C E L IS T ..................................................................................................... 4 6

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................. ................................ ...... ................. 51
















LIST OF TABLES


Table p

1: Group statistics of meditators and non-meditators in the various portions of the
su rv ey .............................................................................. 2 8

2: Group statistics of group based meditators and non-meditators/non-group based
meditators in the various portions of the survey ...............................................30

3: Group statistics of threshold meditators and non-meditators/non-threshold
meditators in the various portions of the survey. ................ ................ ...............31

4: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (tl). ......................34

5: Individual subject data of volume of left and right limbic activity (itl). ...................... 35

6: Individual subject data of volume of left and right activity (itl)................................. 37

7: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (itl)........................ 38

8: Individual subject data of volume of left and right occipital activity ([tl) ...................39
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1. Four quadrant map of Ken Wilber's Integral theory (Wilber, 2000b, p. 1).................3

2: Medial view of brain with limbic lobe and prefrontal limbic cortex (Iverson et al,
2 0 0 0 p 9 8 7 ) ........................................................................ 13

3: Limbic system showing interconnectedness of the structures and arrows indicating
the predominant direction of neural activity (Iverson et al, 2000, p. 987) ..............13

4: The schematic above is an example of a single run. The total run length was 200.6
sec.............. ..................... ............................................. ...... 2 3

5: Above is an example of an affective stimulus block (positive) consisting of five
interchanging pictures from the International Affective Picture System shown
for a duration of 3.4 sec. and with white blank images shown between for 1.7
sec. for a total block time of 27.2 seconds. ................................... ............... 23

6: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting hemispheric activity
according to volume size. The red and blue pie charts above the aggregated
non-meditators give the breakdown of each individual non-meditator subject.
The blue and yellow pie charts above the aggregated meditator data is the
breakdown of each individual meditator subject.................. ..................................33

7: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting frontal lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size. ........................................... ........... 34

8: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting limbic system
hemispheric activity according to volume size. ........................................... ........... 35

9: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting hemispheric activity
according to volume size during presentation of negative affective stimuli............37

10: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting frontal lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size during presentation of negative
affectiv e stim u li .................................................... ................ 3 8

11: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting occipital lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size during presentation of negative
affectiv e stim u li .................................................... ................ 3 9













Abstract of thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts

FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING OF EMOTIONAL
REACTIVITY AND WISDOM ASSESSMENT OF MEDITATORS AND
NON-MEDITATORS

By

Marc F. Kurtzman


August 2005

Chair: Shaya Isenberg
Major Department: Religion

The growing interest in meditation has opened the door for new and innovative

research to understand both the psychological and physiological effects of this ancient

practice. Research in the area of meditation is normally interdisciplinary in nature.

Meditation research encompasses many fields of research from religious studies to

psychology to neuroscience. The following study was an interdisciplinary venture that

brought together researchers from the fields of religious studies, psychology, sociology,

and neuroscience.

The first portion of the study explored the psychological impact of meditation.

Using Monika Ardelt's Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS), 42 subjects of

meditators and non-meditators completed the 3D-WS and scores were computed among

the various dimensions that comprise the 3D-WS. Various groupings and statistical

analysis were performed in evaluating the possible differences. The results demonstrated

significant differences in overall wisdom. Among the three dimensions that comprise









overall wisdom, significant differences were found in the reflective dimension but most

significant in the affective domain.

In the second portion of the study, we utilized the technology of functional

magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a pilot study to explore possible differences in

brain activation between meditators and non-meditators in the presence of emotional

stimuli from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). Six subjects (3

meditators, 3 non-meditators) underwent an fMRI and a descriptive volume analysis was

used in exploring global and regions of interest differences between the two groups.

Global asymmetries were found in the time-locked all affect based deconvolution. The

occipital region showed asymmetries for all affect based deconvolution. Frontal region

activity showed asymmetries for the time-locked negative affect only deconvolution.

The study shed light on areas of exploration that should be further explored. The

low number of subjects in the fMRI portion of the study inhibited statistically significant

differences from being demonstrated. The implications of the study shed further light on

the many changes that are possible in both mind and brain with the practicing of

meditation.
















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION


There is a widespread interest in the benefits/effects of meditation on the whole

person. The practice of sitting in silence is no longer confined to the realms of "new age"

hocus pocus but have entered the spheres of medicine and mental health. From its roots

in contemplative religious practices, meditation has been transformed and made secular

for those seeking the benefits without the beliefs. The effects of meditation have been

studied from the level of microbiology to the macro level of cognitive neuroscience.

Along the dimensions from micro to macro, there is a general consensus of positive

effects. Technological advances in neuroimaging have enabled a new generation of

studies that are better equipped to image the spatial dynamics of meditation versus the

temporal dynamics of meditation. Recent studies as late as 2003, have suggested that

meditation research should utilize technology that provides greater neuroanatomical

information of brain function, i.e., functional magnetic resonance imaging (Davidson,

Kabat-Zinn et al., 2003). The latest generation of meditation research has focused less on

the changes during meditation and more on the permanent/enduring changes that a

consistent practice brings to the practitioner.

An Integralist Approach

The conceptualization of my research rests upon the Integral System formulated

by Ken Wilber. In his four-quadrant system (discussed below), the left half has correlates









in the right half. In other words the mental has correlates in the physical. These

physical correlates take the form of the body and its underlying systems. As stated by

Ken Wilber, "feelings, mental ideas, and spiritual illuminations all have physical

correlates that can be measured by various scientific means, from EEG machines to blood

chemistry to PET scans to galvanic skin response" (Wilber, 2000a, p 75). However,

Wilber was not the first to correlate the inner landscape of the mind to its physical

embodiment.

William James's classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience, is the text of his

Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-02. An early

lecture in the series was titled, "Religion and Neurology." A passage from the lecture

discusses on the issue of brain and mind in the context of religious experiences:

To plead the organic causation of a religious state of mind, then, in refutation of its
claim to possess superior spiritual value, is quite illogical and arbitrary, unless one
has already worked out in advance some psycho-physical theory connecting
spiritual values in general with determinate sorts of physiological change.
Otherwise none of our thoughts and feelings, not even our scientific doctrines, not
even our disbeliefs, could retain any value as revelations of the truth, for every one
of them without exception flows from the state of their possessor's body at the
time... It has no physiological theory of the production of these its favorite states,
by which it may accredit them; and its attempt to discredit the states which it
dislikes, by vaguely associating them with nerves and liver, and connecting them
with names connoting bodily affliction, is altogether illogical and inconsistent.
(James, 1986, p. 33)

This project does not have the task of assigning origin1 to either the body or mind;

rather the focus of the research is on the dynamic relationship between the two domains.


1 This unanswered question is of particular importance in all fields of neurological studies. The question is
whether the mind or body comes first or is a dynamic relationship? If our moment-to-moment experience
is the sum of our neurological activity then what does that say about our existence on the other hand if
mind precedes experience then of what realm does the mind exist in? This is a troubling question that
myself and my fellow colleagues that work within neurological studies have many hours of discussion
over; the issue of the origination of consciousness is perhaps a problem in the question. It might be that the
question of origination in brain or mind is limited in its scope.












This is contrast to some previous research that have provided an unapologetic bias by


claiming that all experiences are brain-based without considering the dynamic


relationship between these two fields (Saver & Rabin, 1997).


The mutual relationship between the mind and body or in other words the


physical and non-physical is the focus of Integral theory. Ken Wilber's Integral


Philosophy fits into a four quadrant domain. Below is a map of the four quadrant system.



Upper Left Upper Righr
Lnrenror-Indivdual Lxrcrirz-lindn- dual
I (nrcnric.nal tBichavoral)
visicn-logic 12 1 IT 1/ SF
Ioru Li a i I 1 1\ SF2
conerlp 10 IC,. F1
II. A.Lv 9 / ..nipkx .nocc-n*..
'vrmbcl 8 neccorrev (cnun. I.-.I
cmor..on l si
inpulsi' F 6 b r -pclian hrjin snrern
p ^cns no.nn noji 13,,zd
Tnc ruur nior C -rcr rr- nl ric rn
S3 cukar occs
arrnrasbllera .1 pr,.1-< .r-,aresi
Si nAlc; Aes
pr ehen tion arorn
'nh si-, l- -l.,.. i
picromaic ] J7| rei.-




interp thPis i e. _rm. istnoun es
rabdc, \\\ f g l gLi ri li.n i. llU C wn2 rrtS1 it
nr 4-or-Coltc- vivr h d erior-Cn oll Idtc e
r.t F n c lrn C g roup-Foi mru ll

lllJK^lx r ln ~ LSO-,lllll





To interpret this elaborate map, it is crucial to understand that Wilber's system is ap

construction on the continuum from simple to complex. In this pattern, he states that in
trnmr~i~ic 12 *'WE ITS indit --jl 12 Iplanetaff
L Lower Lrh Inuicr Righr
anrcrior-Coilecrivc ETxterior-Collccivc
rCulrurolIi k'iocia3 P


Figure 1. Four quadrant map of Ken Wilber's Integral theory (Wilber, 2000b, p. 1).


To interpret this elaborate map, it is crucial to understand that Wilber's system is a


construction on the continuum from simple to complex. In this pattern, he states that in


life there are divisions of singular-plural, interior-exterior, and mind-body or spirit-


matter. In referring to the Four Quadrant map I will use the abbreviations UR (upper


right), UL (upper left), LR (lower right), and LL (lower left). The UR on the map says









"IT", the "it" of this map is all matter ranging from atoms to complex SF32 humans. The

LR says "ITS" and the "its" is the collective matter or habitat in which the "its" subsist

in. The UL says "I" and this quadrant deals with the interior "I" or mind. The LL is the

"We" and this quadrant deals with the collective interior "we" or simply put the

individual's worldview.

When viewing the map, it is helpful to divide the system before explaining the it

as a whole. The right side deals with the exterior or matter and the left side deals with the

interior or mind. A further division is that the top half of the system deals with the

singular and the bottom half deals with the plural. Starting with UR and then proceeding

clockwise one can correlate all quadrants. Starting from level six appears the term neural

cord in UR, in LR we see that level six corresponds to societies with divisions of labor, in

UL six corresponds to perception, and in LL one corresponds to locomotive. So, a living

creature having a neural cord has a habitat within a society with divisions of labor, this

creature's interior singular is perception meaning its nervous system has the ability to

perceive the universe, and its worldview is locomotive.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the interactive relationship between the

left and right halves of the integral system. The assessment of the wisdom of an

individual evaluates the UL and LL. The wisdom of an individual pertains to both the

UL and LL because the 3D-WS assesses both the individual's psyche as well as

worldview. The assessment of the neurological reactivity of subjects to affective pictures

assesses the UR. The practice of meditation is widely understood as a transformational

2 Terms like SF3 humans or other terms that will be mentioned are terms that Wilber has defined in part
with his Integral System. Rather than spend lots of time on explaining all of the various levels it is
important to grasp from this short explanation that there are various levels and these levels have names
given by Wilber.









process. This study aims to evaluate these transformations of both dimensions of an

individual. Meditation involves the concentration of both body and mind which has

guided this study. Meditation, for the purpose of this study, is sedentary and a stillness of

the body must be maintained. These points of concentration are hypothesized to have

changes on both physical and nonphysical dimensions.

Meditation: A Definition

What exactly is meditation? Some have argued that meditation is a kind of

altered state of consciousness (Tart, 1969). Various definitions of meditation arise

because of the various forms of meditation. Epstein and Lieff3 in their article in

Transformations of Consciousness defined meditation more clinically:

Meditation may be conceptualized as a process of attentional restructuring wherein
the mind can be trained both in concentration, the ability to rest undisturbed on a
single object, and in mindfulness, the ability to observe its own moment-to-moment
nature, to pay attention undistractedly to a series of changing objects. This
perceptual retraining allows a finely honed investigation of the rapidly changing
self-concepts that perpetuate the sense of self. (Epstein & Lieff, 1986: 58)

Researchers have shown that "retraining" or development of mindfulness via the

practice of meditation has been shown by researchers to change the body, psyche, and

even society (Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al, 2003; Kabat-Zinn, Miller et al, 1995; Gilliani,

Smith et al, 2001; ). Benson et al, 1990; Hagelin et al, 1999).

From a researcher's perspective a specific research protocol to define meditation

is difficult to establish. Researchers, including Jon Kabat-Zinn, have formulated a

secularized version of meditation that is taught under the name of "mindfulness" (Kabat-

Zinn, 1990). Recent literature attempts to establish criteria for the classification of

3 The background and personal practice of these two physicians is in Vipassana which is evident in their
definition of meditation. Although I feel their definition highlights the common themes of meditation, the
vipassana tradition tends to focus on bare insight and awareness without the usage of visualizations or
chanting just simply being and breathing.









meditation in research (Cardoso, Souza et al, 2004). Cardoso and Souza developed a

five-point criterion for defining meditation in health research. They include a specified

technique, body relaxation, "logic relaxation", self-induction, and a employment of a

self-focus skill (Cardoso, Souza et al, 2004). By Cardoso's own admission this

operational definition will be unable to capture all of the intricacies of various practices

of meditation. The current study's interdisciplinary staff is an asset to properly

understand and classify various forms of meditation in the sample population. The

researchers for previous meditation studies have not had an interdisciplinary group of

researchers to aid in the evaluation of meditation as a practice. Thus previous studies on

meditation lacked expertise on various meditative traditions. The assemblage of the

project staff for this research study draws upon the fields of sociology, religious studies,

and neuroscience. This multidisciplinary staff will benefit the research in identifying

possible latent variables such as the nature of the individuals practice or theory behind the

practice. These seemingly trivial aspects are crucial in isolating and understanding the

subject's practice.

Previous Research in Meditation

The popularity of meditation and Eastern religions has been steadily increasing in

Western culture. Eastern philosophy and practices, from yoga to meditation, have

migrated to the West. Initially the benefits of meditation were known anecdotally. From

the ability to levitate to a life with reduced stress, the claims of meditation have attracted

a large population. Today, however, the benefits of meditation have science to support

them. Scientific research on meditation has been published in popular media such as

Time magazines profile of "The Science of Meditation: New Age mumbo jumbo? Not for

millions of Americans who meditate for health and well-being. Here's how it works"









(Stein, 2004). The benefit of meditation concluded in scientific research has made its

practice more widespread. No longer relegated to the spheres of religious/spiritual

practices, meditation is now broadly taught in the field of medicine.

One of the earliest research studies on meditation came from Japan. It was an

electroencephalographic study of Zen meditators (Kasamatsu & Hirai, 1966). Since that

time many researchers have made careers from meditation research most notably Richard

Davidson Ph.D., Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D., and Herbert Benson M.D. An article from

Science on Benson characterized him aptly as the "mind-body maverick" (Roush, 1997).

Benson is most famous for his best-selling work on the relaxation response. The

relaxation response an original term coined by Benson that describes physiological

alterations during a state of relaxation (Roush, 1997). As a result of his research, Benson

has come to advocate meditation practice. In one of his studies on meditation he

examined Tibetan Buddhist monks, regarded as advanced meditators, and found that they

were able to alter their metabolism and more specifically decrease it (Benson et al, 1990).

This study and the majority of previous studies of meditation utilize

electroencephalogram4 (EEG). In this EEG study, Benson found the alteration in

metabolism was not one-way. Benson found metabolism could be raised 61% from

baseline and lowered to 64% from baseline depending upon the particular meditation

employed (Benson et al, 1990). To differentiate normal relaxation versus meditation,

Solberg studied hemodynamic changes during long meditations in contrast to non-

meditators resting in a seated position for the same length of time (Solberg et al, 2004).

They found that during the first hour heart-rate declined more in meditators than non-

4 It should be stated that many advancements have occurred in EEG and are utilized widely in current
neuroscience research.









meditators/controls and during the second hour HR declined even further in meditators

(Solberg et al, 2004). This study provided evidence that simply sitting in a rested

position with lack of focus i.e. relaxing does not produce the same hemodynamic changes

as seen in meditation.

Davidson and Kabat-Zinn recently concluded that "mindfulness meditation"

produced demonstrable effects on brain and immune function (Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et

al., 2003). Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that is secular in nature that

was developed by Kabat-Zinn. In this same study Davidson and Kabat-Zinn also

discovered, via usage of EEG and Electrooculography (EOG) that increases in left-side

anterior activation followed the practice of mindfulness. Left-side anterior activation is a

pattern associated with positive affect. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that

combines yoga, breathing, imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and Zen psychology

(Gillani & Smith, 2001). In another study, Kabat-Zinn and his research team performed a

3 year follow-up on 22 patients who all had a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

Mental Disorders) diagnosed anxiety disorder and who were all taught the mindfulness

program (Kabat-Zinn, Miller, & Fletcher, 1995). Kabat-Zinn found that the continuing

practice led to a decrease in anxiety5 (Kabat-Zinn, Miller, & Fletcher, 1995). The

highlight of this article is the authors' description of the transformational mindset that

this meditation supports. "They encourage the practitioner to adopt a more dispassionate,

witness-like observing and self-reporting of the moment by moment unfolding of one's

experience" (Kabat-Zinn, Miller, & Fletcher, 1995, p. 197). The idea of a detachment

from the reactivity to life is a reinforcing attitude within the practice of many forms of

5 Gilliani and Smith came to an identical conclusion regarding a substantial decrease in anxiety levels but the
form of meditation utilized was purely based on the Zen Buddhist tradition (Gillani & Smith, 2001)









meditation. Detachment in the previous context is not a form of uncompassionate

withdrawal but a type of compassionate awareness. Goleman supports this idea when he

states, meditatorss were able to roll with life's punches, handling daily stresses well and

suffering fewer consequences from them" (Goleman, 1988 p. 163).

A recent meta-analysis was performed to evaluate mindfulness-based stress

reduction (MBSR) in clinical treatment (Grossman et al., 2004). Grossman discussed the

characteristics of mindfulness which entail dispassionate, non-evaluative and sustained

moment-to-moment awareness (Grossman et al., 2004). The meta-analysis performed

was limited by the number of investigations to date which evaluate MBSR. The studies

they investigated utilized MBSR for a wide array of ailments such as Fibromyalgia,

cancer, depression, chronic pain, and a host of other physical and psychological

pathologies. Both controlled and observational studies provided a statistically significant

conclusion (p < .0001) that MBSR helps a wide population to manage a host of clinical

and non-clinical problems (Grossman et al., 2004).

From physiological/neurological changes to clinical applications, meditation

spans the spectrum of research. Studies of physiological effects of meditation have

tended to focus upon the changes either during or post meditation (Lutz et al., 2004;

Davidson, Kabat-Zinn et al., 2003; Solberg et al., 2004; Takahashi et al., 2004). Few

studies have studied the enduring changes in moment-to-moment awareness of affective

stimuli of long term meditators.

Wisdom

In the article "Meditation: Royal Road to the Transpersonal", Walsh and Vaughan

discuss various qualities cultivated by the "technology of transcendence" i.e. meditation

(Walsh & Vaughan, 1993, p. 51). One such quality is wisdom: "Whereas knowledge is









something we have, wisdom is something we become. Developing it requires self-

transformation" (Walsh & Vaughan, 1993, p. 51). From a religious point of view, Sant

Rajinder Singh discusses the cultivation of wisdom and the difference between what he

designates as the "soul's wisdom" from knowledge, "the mind analyzes through the

subjective eyes of the ego, while the soul views everything through the clear glass of

truth" (Singh, 1999, p. 19). Sant Rajinder Singh discusses the difference within the

context of elaborating on the qualities attained through the practice of meditation. The

terms wisdom and meditation are coupled together often but the question arises, how

does one perform research to assess wisdom?

Monika Ardelt, Ph.D., has constructed assessment surveys and specific definitions

for defining what constitutes wisdom. She defines wisdom as a combination of

cognitive, affective, and reflective dimensions (3D-WS, Ardelt, 2003). For Ardelt,

wisdom is a experiential rather than intellectual knowledge (Ardelt, 2004). Intellectual

and wisdom-related knowledge share a common theme of the search for truth (Ardelt,

2000). The opposition of quantitative and qualitative underscores the major differences

between intellectual and wisdom-related knowledge (Ardelt, 2000). Not only do these

two forms of knowledge differ in their goals but they are brought about by different

methods. Intellectual knowledge is obtained from scientific, theoretical, abstract or

detached approaches but while wisdom-related knowledge is inherently spiritual in nature

(Ardelt, 2000). The underlying themes to these two approaches are objectivity and

subjectivity which are not the same as impersonal vs. personal. Intellectual knowledge is

impersonal whereas wisdom-related knowledge is deeply personal (Ardelt, 2000). The









personal nature of wisdom-related knowledge is consistent with Ardelt's earlier argument

that wisdom is experientially based.

Earlier I noted that Ardelt defines wisdom along three dimensions. The cognitive

dimension pertains to an individual's ability to understand the significance and deeper

meaning of life's events (Ardelt, 2003). Ardelt considers the reflective dimension a

prerequisite for the development of the cognitive dimension (Ardelt, 2003), for an

individual must have a reality free from distortions in order to come to a deeper

understanding of phenomena (Ardelt, 2003). For Ardelt, the reflective component takes

into consideration the many perspectives of life's events. The idea of a multi-

perspectival viewpoint is akin to Wilber's notion of 'aperspectival' (Wilber, 2000a). The

affective dimension is characterized by a sense of sympathy or acts of kindness towards

others (Ardelt, 2003). In measuring wisdom, Ardelt has developed a three-dimensional

wisdom scale (3D-WS) that assesses wisdom along the aforementioned dimensions. The

3D-WS has been utilized and tested for reliability and validity.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

In Keith White's talk titled "MR Physics in 20 Minutes: A talk from Hell" he

stated, "In the MRI scanner a very large coil cooled with liquid helium has a very strong

electric current flowing continuously. This makes the strong (3 Tesla) unchanging

magnetic field called Bo. Protons in this strong field: (a) become more magnetic, and (b)

become lined up with Bo". Dr. White was referring to the protons in the hydrogen atoms

which is found throughout the body since each water molecule is composed of 2

hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Since water is the most abundant substrate in tissues

its signal is dominant in the information content of images (Ogawa et al., 1990). Once

these hydrogen nuclei (protons) align with the magnetic field of the scanner a RF (radio









frequency) coil sends a pulse of energy to knock the molecules out of alignment, to a

"flip angle" with respect to Bo. The protons, return back to alignment by releasing

energy, sending radio waves to the transceiver. The RF coil in the scanner is what is

known as a transceiver since it is both able to transmit a signal (i.e. the pulse that knocks

the protons to their flip angle) and to receive the signal of the protons returning back to

alignment with Bo. The basic four steps that occur while the subject is in the scanner are

to (1) transmit radio waves into a subject, (2) to turn off radio wave transmitter, (3) to

receive radio waves re-transmitted by subject, and (4) to store measured radio wave data

(Cox, 2003).

Functional MRI operates under the same physics as previously explained. Brain

activity is measured by the principal of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD)

contrast (Ogawa et al., 1990). There is a three-step relationship to the BOLD sequence.

An increase in neural activity descreases blood oxygen in the site of neural activity. A

change in magnetization occurs when blood exchanges oxygen with neural tissue and

oxyhemoglobin becomes deoxyhemoglobin. The ration of deoxyhemoglobin to

oxyhemoglobin alters the signal from water molecules surrounding a blood vessel,

resulting in blood oxygenation level-dependent contrast. The genius of BOLD contrast is

its dependency on blood oxygenation which is in turn dependent upon physiological

events that change the oxy/deoxyhemoglobin ratio (Ogawa et al., 1990).

Neuroimaging Emotion

Emotion itself is a non-physical entity that is unable to be captured but the

correlates of neural activity to various emotional states have been extensively studied and

isolated. The founder of Neuropsychology, Paul Broca, was the first to identify a region

of the brain that was later theorized by James Papez to be the cortical structures for








13



emotion known as the limbic lobe (Iverson et al., 2000). The limbic lobe is ring-like in


shape and consists of phylogenetically primitive cortex, in relation to the neocortex,


around the brain stem (Iverson et al., 2000).



ForniX Cingulate gyrus




Occipital lobe
Frontal lobe. _/




Amygdala a Parahippocampal gyrus
H Hippocampus
Temporal lobe



Figure 2: Medial view of brain with limbic lobe and prefrontal limbic cortex (Iverson et
al., 2000, p. 987).


Ci u Anterior thalamic nuclei
Cingulurm


Stria termjna -'.*:"

.I .


Fornix- ----- .- ?|


Mamnijlothal&r .1 -A-tr.


e,,,
.. -,t..


Olfactory bulb
Ventral
emygdalofugal ,
pathway -
Amygdala
Hippocampus /
Mammil ary i
body


Figure 3: Limbic system showing interconnectedness of the structures and arrows
indicating the predominant direction of neural activity (Iverson et al., 2000, p.
987).









The limbic lobe is comprised of the cingulate gyms, parahippocampal gyrus, and

the hippocampal formation (Iverson et al., 2000). Later, Paul MacLean developed the

concept of the limbic system which added the structures of the hypothalamus, septal area,

nucleus accumbens, neocortical regions such as the orbitofrontal cortex, and the most

popular structure to examine, the amygdala (Iverson et al., 2000). In neuroimaging the

anatomy of emotion, further areas of interest include areas common to neuroimaging

studies include the anterior cingulate, supplementary motor cortex, medial prefrontal

cortex, mid- and posterior cingulate, temporal cortex (including hippocampus), parietal

and occipital lobes, insular cortex, basal forebrain, amygdala, and brainstem (Wager et

al., 2003). Studies utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging tend to focus on

global activation rather than focusing on various regions of interest (ROI's), e.g. the

amygdala. The rationale for focusing solely upon the amygdala and foregoing other areas

of the limbic system is the difficulty of imaging the amygdala (Chen et al., 2003). T2*-

weighted gradient-echo echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequences are commonly used in

fMRI studies because of the inherent sensitivity to BOLD contrast (Chen et al., 2003). A

problem arises with the location of the amygdala. T2*-weighted imaging is sensitive to

the static field gradient formed by the tissue-air susceptibility difference (Chen et al.,

2003). With this stated, the amygdala is in a region of the brain that has a field of

inhomogeneity (Chen et al., 2003). The problems arising with the location of the

amygdala force many researchers to image only a portion of the brain rather than a

whole-brain acquisition for optimal sensitivity.

Neuroimaging studies of emotion vary from the technology utilized (i.e. PET,

fMRI, etc) to tasks and/or stimuli utilized to induce emotion in subjects. Various long-









standing theories underlie many emotion studies. One of the oldest theories is that

emotion has overall right-hemisphere dominance (Wager et al., 2003). More recent

theories of emotion posit that both hemispheres are involved in emotional processing but

each hemisphere has dominance over particular types of emotion (Lee et al., 2004).

Other theories postulate that lateralization and anatomy of emotion is contingent upon

gender (Wager et al., 2003).

As previously mentioned, studies of emotion occasionally employ tasks that

present a stimulus or instruct subjects to be passive during stimulation (Shapira et al.,

2003; Lang & Bradley et al., 1998; Klein et al., 2003; Sabatinelli et al., 2004; Lee et al.,

2004). Emotional stimuli tend to vary across populations and therefore for accurate

classification of valence and arousal of stimuli databases of emotional stimuli have been

tested and made available to researchers. Valence and arousal are two of three

dimensions that the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) measures the stimuli.

Affective valence ranges from pleasant to unpleasant and measurement of its arousal that

ranges from calm to excited (CSEA-NIMH, 1999). One very popular database is the

International Affective Picture System6 (IAPS) (CSEA-NIMH, 1999). IAPS was

developed to provide a database of normative emotional stimuli for experimentation

(Lang, Bradley, Cuthbert, 2001).









6 The NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention have developed other normative sets of stimuli
for non-visual research such as the International Affective Digitized Sounds (IADS) and Affective Lexicon
of English Words (ANEW).









Hypothesis

Wisdom

Meditation is known as a transformational process and with Wilber's Integral

System such transformations should be able to be captured by technology or by internal

inventory like the 3D-WS. With the behavioral analysis meditators should show

significant differences in affective and reflective dimensions of the 3D-WS. The

cognitive dimension is more difficult to predict. Since the cognitive dimension is

evaluating a quest for deeper understanding of the phenomena of life, the subjects chosen

for this study may show insignificant differences in this dimension due to the spiritually

liberal nature of the groups chosen for this study. Overall wisdom should be higher in

meditators than non-meditators. Meditation is often a lifetime practice and therefore the

consistent practice of meditation should produce significant differences in the purpose in

life dimension. Since most meditators recruited for this study belong to a group the

shared spiritual/religious activities assessment should be higher than non-meditators.

Mastery should be higher in meditators. The therapeutic nature of meditation should aid

in meditators having less psychological ills and therefore meditators should score lower

on the depressive symptoms.

Functional Imaging

The lack of understanding of neurological reactions in meditators as opposed to

the same reactions in a non-meditator has not been studied and therefore specific regions

of difference are difficult to hypothesize. Overall it is expected that meditators should

have a lower volume activity on a global level and perhaps asymmetries both globally

and in regions of interest, in response to emotionally charged visual stimuli. Perhaps






17


meditation allows for the right hemisphere dominance of emotion to be less defined and a

mutual sharing of emotion among the hemispheres could be the result.















CHAPTER 2
METHODS



Materials and Methods for Wisdom Assessment

Participants

Forty-two (18 men, 24 women) volunteers participated (age 19-78 years, M = 46.4

years, SD = 15.66 years; education 10-21 years, M = 16.74 years, SD = 2.43 years).

Nineteen meditation subjects were recruited from two different local religious groups and

8 non-meditation subjects were gathered from a local religious group. Mediation groups

were recruited from those familiar with the project staff and non-meditation groups were

chosen from two local liberal natured groups. I chose non-fundamentalist groups for the

study so as to minimize the possible effect of comparing groups that are philosophically

opposite in their cultural open-mindedness. The remaining participants were recruited

acquaintances of the project staff. The group-based versus non-group based subjects

were recruited to discriminate the variable of group effect. Potential subjects were

excluded from the study if they reported a history of neurological disease, major

psychiatric disturbance, or substance abuse. Two subjects requested not to be included in

the final pool of subjects selected to undergo the fMRI portion of the study. Potential

risks were explained at each phase of the study, and informed consent was obtained from

participants according to institutional guidelines established by the Health Science Center

Institutional Review Board at the University of Florida.









Survey Instruments

Meditation and non-meditation subjects both completed a survey comprised of 119

questions. Responses were coded as a numerical value e.g. 1-5. Wisdom was measured

by the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (Ardelt, 2003). In the 3D-WS, wisdom is

treated as a latent variable comprised of cognitive, reflective, and affective dimensions

(Ardelt, 2003). The cognitive dimension is evaluated by items that assess an

understanding of life or the desire to know the truth (3D-WS, Ardelt, 2003). An example

of the cognitive component is the following: "It is better not to know too much about

things that cannot be changed" with answers ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 5

(strongly disagree). The reflective dimension assesses an individual's capability to view

events from various perspectives and to avoid layering such events with subjectivity and

projections. A sample item from the reflective dimension is the following: "When I look

back on what has happened to me, I can't help feeling resentful" with answers ranging

from 1 (definitely true of myself) to 5 (not true of myself). The third dimension of

wisdom is the affective component, it assesses altruistic emotions and behavior along

with the absence of its opposite emotions and behaviors towards other sentient beings. A

sample item from this dimension is: "Sometimes I feel a real compassion for everyone"

with answers ranging from 1 (definitely true of myself) to 5 (not true of myself). The

wisdom score was derived by averaging the means of the cognitive, affective, and

reflective dimensions. Internal consistency of the items measuring the cognitive,

reflective, and affective dimensions of the 3D-WS were measured using Cronbach's

alpha. The cognitive, reflective, and affective dimensions had respective alpha levels of

.72, .74, and .77; with overall wisdom having an alpha level of .76.









Along with wisdom and its components, other areas were evaluated. Mastery was

assessed by Pearlin and Schooler's (1978) Mastery Scale (Ardelt, 2003). The Mastery

Scale consists of seven statements such as "Sometimes I feel that I'm being pushed

around in life" with answers ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree).

Cronbach's alpha for the Mastery Scale was .56. Depression was another measurement

taken and was assessed by the CES-D (Radloff 1977). The depression scale evaluated a

list of emotions possibly felt in the past week of taking the survey such as "I did not feel

like eating; my appetite was poor" with answers ranging from 1 (less than 1 day) to 4 (5-

7 days). Cronbach's alpha for the CES-D was .86. Purpose in life was measured by

Crumbaugh and Maholick's (1964) Purpose in Life Test. The PIL assesses an individuals

positive and negative emotions towards life e.g. "My personal existence often seems

meaningless and without purpose" with answers ranging from 1 (definitely true of

myself) to 5 (not true of myself). Cronbach's alpha for PIL was .76. Subjective health

was measured by adapted of items from the OARS Multidimensional Functional

Assessment Questionnaire (Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development

1975), the National Survey of the Aged (Shanas 1962, 1982), and the Americans'

Changing Lives Questionnaire, Wave I (House 1994). A sample question from the

subjective health section is "How would you rate your overall health at the present time?"

with answers ranging from 1 (excellent) to 5 (very bad). Cronbach's alpha for the

subjective health questions was .61. Gender was surveyed with an allowable range of

either 1 (female) or 2 (male). Age was measured by having subjects list their date of

birth. Race was assessed with a range of 1 (white/European) to 6 (other).

Religious/spiritual activities was assessed by how often the subject participated in









spiritual/religious activities with at least one other person in the past month; subjects had

a range of 1 (more than 15 times) to 5 (0 times).

Meditation experience and practice was assessed by several questions. The first

question inquired about the frequency of meditation in a typical week ranging from 1

(never) to 6 (once a day or more). If this question was answered "never" then

respondents did not proceed to further questions. The second question inquired about the

length of time the person has been practicing meditation with 1 (less than 1 year) to 4

(more than 10 years). The third question asked about the length of time the person

spends on a single meditation session from 1 (less than fifteen minutes) to 4 (more than

an hour). The question was phrased "meditating in one sitting" assuming that the

individual practiced a sedentary form of meditation. This was important in order to

distinguish meditation from yoga or other forms of meditation-in-motion. Meditation-in-

motion or yoga might cloud the results because it would be difficult to assess whether the

act of meditation or physical activity is the primary factor. The final open-ended

questions asked the subject to name and describe the type of meditation they practice.

Again, this was very useful information in distinguishing meditation from forms of

relaxation.

Analysis

All statistical analysis performed used SPSS 12.0 for Windows. Correlation

analyses and t-tests were performed to assess differences in wisdom and other variables

between those who meditate against those who do not, those who meditate in a group

against those who meditate alone and non-meditators, and those who meditated at least

60-90 minutes per week against non-meditators and those who meditate less than 60

minutes a week.









Materials and Methods for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Participants

Six subjects (3 men, 3 women) were chosen to participate in the fMRI portion of

the study. Three meditators and three non-meditators were selected (Meditators: 2

women, 1 man, ages 25-50, M = 40.7, SD = 13.7; education 17-18 years, M = 17.7, SD =

.58) (Non-meditators: 2 women, 1 man, ages 20-68, M = 36.3, SD = 27.4; education 14-

16 years, M = 15.3, SD = 1.15). The six participants were not matched in education due

to the insignificance of education on affective perception. Potential risks and a second

informed consent as well as a full MRI safety screening were conducted according to the

institutional guidelines established by the Health Center Institutional Review Board at the

University of Florida.

Experimental Stimuli

Experimental stimuli consisted of 75 pictures from the International Affective

Picture System were presented across five runs (CSEA-NIMH, 1999). Twenty-five

pictures from each affective domain were presented in an affective block design; negative

(valence: 1-3) M = 2.41, positive (valence: 7-9) M = 7.72, and neutral (valence 4-6) M =

5.03.

Experimental Design

During each of five functional imaging runs, three different affective blocks from

each affective domain (see below for design of an affective block) were presented with

inter-stimulus-intervals (ISI) of 28.9, 34, and 39.1 sec. were distributed within runs (see

below for layout of a single run) in a pseudorandomized order. Inter-stimulus-intervals

were presentations of a white blank screen. Participants were instructed to view the

stimuli presented on the screen passively.





















17 27.2 28.9 27.2 39.1 27.2 34 sec.
Figure 4: The schematic above is an example of a single run. The total run length was
200.6 sec.

















Positive


Figure 5: Above is an example of an affective stimulus block (positive) consisting of five
interchanging pictures from the International Affective Picture System shown
for a duration of 3.4 sec. and with white blank images shown between for 1.7
sec. for a total block time of 27.2 seconds.


Image Acquisition

Each experimental run consisted of three 27.2-sec affective blocks during which 16

images were collected. The inter-stimulus-interval baseline state was a blank white

screen. The ISI varied in lengths of 28.9, 34, or 39.1 sec (corresponding to 17, 20, and 23

images respectively). To allow for a homogenous magnetic field a 17 sec period was









placed at the beginning of each functional run in which 8 images were collected and

subsequently discarded. The length of the baseline periods, i.e. ISI, was varied

pseudorandomly to mitigate low-frequency periodic and quasiperiodic physiological

artifacts. Each length of the ISI was used once during each run. For each functional

imaging run, there were three blocks consisting of five pictures totaling fifteen IAPS

pictures per run. Thus, for each functional imaging run, there were 8 disdaq1 images, 3

affective blocks of 16 images each, and three baseline cycles consisting of 17, 20, and 23

images for a total of 118 images collected per functional run. By randomizing and

having unequal lengths of the baseline condition, the onsets of the affective blocks were

periodic. The length of each affective block did not vary so that a single hemodynamic

response could be modeled for each block using the deconvolution technique.

Whole brain imaging was performed on a 3.0-T Siemens Allegra scanner. The

head was aligned such that the interhemispheric fissure was within 1 of vertical. Before

functional image acquisition, structural images were acquired for 124 1.3 mm thick

sagittal slices, using a T1-weighted volume acquisition (TE = 2000 msec, FA = 8 NEX

= 1, FOV = 240 mm, matrix size = 256 x 192. For functional imaging sequences, 32

slices (4.5 mm) were acquired in a sagittal orientation (matrix size = 64x64). Images

were obtained using a gradient-echo EPI (echo-planar imaging) sequence using the

following parameters: TE = 25 msec, TR = 1700 msec, FA = 700, FOV = 240 mm.

Image Analysis

Functional images were analyzed and overlaid onto anatomic images with

Analysis of Functional Neuroimages (AFNI) software (Cox, 1996). To lessen the effects


1 Disdaq images are those images removed/discarded prior to full processing of functional datasets.









of head motion, the time series were spatially registered in 3-D space to the coordinates

of the first functional run which immediately followed the anatomical scan. Images were

visually inspected for artifacts. For each dataset, the mean slice signal intensities were

normalized to the grand mean of slice intensity across all functional runs. Voxels where

the standard deviation of the signal change exceeded 8% of the mean signal were set to

zero to decrease large vessel effects and residual motion artifact.

The first eight images were dropped from each functional run to allow for a

homogenous magnetic field. Dropping the eight images from each run brought a total of

112 images per run with five functional runs. The runs were concatenated in

chronological order into a single time series of 560 images for each of the 32 functional

image slices. After concatenation of the time series, the time series was deconvolved

from the 560-image time series on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Each hemodynamic response

(HDR) was modeled using a maxlag of 25 TR periods following the onset of the first

picture in an affective block. The long maxlag of 25 TR was used in order to capture the

entire HDR from its onset to its return to baseline. For each voxel, a single HDR was

deconvolved for all affective blocks and separately for positive, negative, and neutral

blocks.

Anatomic and functional images were interpolated to volumes with 1-mm3 voxels,

coregistered, and converted to the stereotaxic coordinate space of Talairach and

Tournoux (Talairach & Tournoux, 1988) using AFNI. In order to discriminate between

baseline and affective stimulus a separate deconvolution was performed following the

onset of baseline periods. Five deconvolutions were carried out for each subject's fMRI

data: (1) time locked to positive affect blocks only, (2) time-locked to negative affect









blocks only, (3) time-locked to neutral affect blocks only, (4) time-locked to all affect

blocks, and (5) time-locked to baseline. Following the baseline-deconvolution an R2

voxel-wise distribution dump file was created for time-locked to negative affect blocks

only, time-locked all affect block and time-locked to baseline deconvolution datasets.

The R2 distributions for each subject were compared using the Kolmogorov-Smimoff test

to detect significant differences between time-locked negative affect blocks only to time-

locked to baseline as well as time-locked all affect blocks to time-locked baseline.

Further KS tests of the negative or neutral time-locked datasets to the time-locked

baseline condition were not performed due to lack of significant activity in either

deconvolution datasets. Following the KS test, a whole-brain cluster analyses was

performed on each subject for all affective blocks as well as positive, negative, and

neutral deconvolution datasets. Cluster reports had thresholds of 0.16 R2 and volume

threshold of 100 il. The low number of subjects prohibited an ANOVA based testing.

Clusters were localized and a descriptive ROI analysis was performed on group data.

Groups were contrasted between meditators and non-meditators. ROI t-tests were

performed on a few regions.















CHAPTER 3
RESULTS


Wisdom Surveys

Meditators versus Non-Meditators

T-tests were performed to detect significant differences between meditators and

non-meditators with regard to wisdom, mastery, purpose in life, depression, subjective

health, education, age, and religious activities. In testing differences between meditators

and non-meditators, no threshold for the amount of time an individual practices was

applied. Therefore meditators were classified according to those who answered "about

once a week" to the question "in a typical week, how often do you practice meditation?"

From all the participants who took the survey, 13 were classified as non-meditators and

29 meditators according to their response to this question. No significant differences in

age, gender or education were found.

Meditators had a significantly higher score than non-meditators on wisdom (t = -

2.932; p = .006). In analyzing the components of the wisdom survey, the two groups did

not significantly differ in the cognitive dimension but did differ in the reflective domain

(t = -2.619; p = .0012). An even greater difference was discovered in the affective

domain (t = -3.898; p = .000), and insignificant differences were found in the cognitive

dimension (t = -0.610; p = .546). In both the reflective and affective domains, the

meditators had a higher mean score than non-meditators. No significant differences were

found in self-mastery (t = -1.628; p = 0.111) but meditators also had a significantly













higher purpose in life score (t = -5.038; p = .000), a higher subjective health rating (t = -


2.029; p = .049), and fewer depressive symptoms (t = 1.81; p = .08). Meditators scored


higher in the religious activities component (t = -1.915; p = .063). The meditators and


non-meditators were found to have no significant difference in the demographic statistics


of education (t = 0.876; p = 0.386), gender (t = 0.447; p = 0.347), age (t = 0.772; p =


0.225), and race (t = 0.090; p = 0.426).




Table 1: Group statistics of meditators and non-meditators in the various portions of the

survey.
Group Statistics Meditators vs Non-Meditators
Std
meditate N Mean Deviation Std Error Mean
Cognitive No 13 39835 047573 013194
Yes
29 40665 037503 006964
Reflective No 13 38654 0 43105 011955
Yes 29 42040 036704 006816
Affective No 13 34320 047371 013138
Yes 29 39708 038594 007167

Wisdom No 13 37603 039987 011090
Yes 29 40804 029040 005393
Mastery No 13 37473 062312 017282
Yes 29 40296 046820 008694
Purpose in Life No 13 36667 083887 023266
Yes 29 46322 041159 007643

Depression No 13 1 4692 045210 012539
Yes 29 12569 029813 005536

Subj Health No 13 37308 069568 019295
Yes 29 42931 088153 016370
Education No 13 172308 265059 073514

Yes 29 165172 234324 043513
Gender No 13 04615 051887 014391

Yes 29 06207 049380 009170
Age No 13 508462 1643597 455852
Yes 29 444483 1517184 281734
Race No 13 09231 027735 007692
Yes 29 08276 038443 007139

Religious Activities No 13 23846 0 76795 0 21299
Yes 29 30000 103510 019221









Group Based Meditators versus Non-group Based Meditators and Non-Meditators

The group based analysis was performed to analyze a possible greater significant

difference between those who meditate in groups versus non-group based meditators and

non-meditators. The rationale was that perhaps the changes brought about via meditation

practice could be attributed to a group phenomenon rather than to a phenomenon of

meditation practice. If significant differences in domains not previously found to be

different are discovered then the results could demonstrate that being a member of a

spiritual group might be a factor to consider in addition to meditation. There were 24

group-based meditators and 18 respondents who either did not belong to a specific group

or were non-meditators.

Group based subjects had a significantly higher wisdom score (t = -2.020; p =

0.050). Group meditators were found to have a higher scores in the reflective and

affective dimensions, with significant differences in the reflective (t = -1.905; p = .064)

and affective (t = -2.56; p =0.014) dimensions of wisdom. Again no significant

differences were found in the cognitive dimension (t = -0.397; p =0.694). Mastery was

again not found to be significant (t = -0.392; p = 0.697). Group meditators had

significantly higher score in the components of purpose in life (t = -3.579; p = 0.001) and

subjective health (t = -2.129; p = 0.039). Non-group meditators were found to have a

significant higher score in the depression scale (t =2.007; p = 0.052). Group meditators

were found to have a greater participation in religious activities (t = -3.359; p = 0.002).

Again none of the demographic statistics were found to be significantly different between

the two measured groups (age: p = 0.871, education: p = 0.552, gender: p = 0.861, and

race: p = 0.711).













Table 2: Group statistics of group based meditators and non-meditators/non-group based
meditators in the various portions of the survey.
Group Statistics of Group Based Meditators vs. Non-Group Based Meditators and Non-Meditators
Meditation
group N Mean Std Deviation Std Error Mean
Cognitive no 18 40119 044049 010382
yes 24 4 0625 0 38397 0 07838
Reflective no 18 39630 041146 009698
yes 24 42014 039388 008040
Affective no 18 35983 052342 012337
yes 24 39583 038893 007939
Wisdom no 18 38577 039295 009262
yes 24 40741 030171 006159
Mastery no 18 39048 061592 014517
yes 24 39702 046716 009536
Purpose In Life no 18 39259 086739 020445
yes 24 46389 039215 008005
Depression no 18 1 4472 042650 010053
yes 24 1 2292 0 27699 0 05654
Subj Health no 18 38056 068897 016239
yes 24 43542 091461 018669
Education no 18 170000 252050 059409
yes 24 165417 239980 048986
Gender no 18 05556 051131 012052
yes 24 05833 050361 010280
Age no 18 468889 1869850 440728
yes 24 460833 1335768 272662
Race no 18 08333 038348 009039
yes 24 08750 033783 006896
Religious Activities no 18 22778 0 75190 0 17723
yes 24 32083 097709 019945




Threshold Meditators


When applying the threshold of 60-90 minutes a week to qualify as a meditator in


the final analyses, there were 24 meditators and 18 "non-meditators". Twenty-three of


the 24 group-based meditators indicated that they meditated at least 60-90 minutes a


week, whereas only one of the non-group meditators reported to mediate for at least 60-


90 minutes a week.


Threshold meditators scored higher in the dimensions of reflective (t = -1.696; p =


0.098) and affective (t = -2.377; p = 0.022) but no significant differences were discovered













in the cognitive dimension (t = -0.782; p = 0.439). Wisdom was significantly higher in


threshold meditators (t = -2.207; p = 0.049). Threshold meditators had a significantly


higher purpose in life (t = -3.579; p =0.001) and subjective health rating (t = -2.129 ; p


=0.039). No differences were found in self-mastery but non-threshold meditators had a


higher depression rating (t =2.207; p =0.033). Threshold meditators participate more in


religious activities (t =-2.527; p = 0.016). No significant differences were found in the


two groups demographic statistics (age: p =0.615, education: p =0.733, race: p =0.711,


and gender: p =0.430).


Table 3: Group statistics of threshold meditators and non-meditators/non-threshold
meditators in the various portions of the survey.
Group Statistics Meditation Threshold vs Non-Threshold Meditators and Non-Meditators

Meditation Std Std Error
threshold N Mean Deviation Mean
Cognitive No 18 39841 043796 010323
Yes 24 40833 038186 007795
Reflective No 18 39769 042280 009966
Yes 24 41910 039124 007986
Affective No 18 36111 053650 012645
Yes 24 39487 038473 007853
Wisdom No 18 38574 039267 009255
Yes 24 40743 030178 006160
Mastery No 18 38968 060372 014230
Yes 24 3 9762 0 47784 0 09754
Purpose In Life No 18 39259 086739 020445
Yes 24 46389 039215 008005
Depression No 18 1 4583 0 42087 009920
Yes 24 1 2208 0 27620 0 05638
Subj Health No 18 38056 068897 016239
Yes 24 43542 091461 018669
Education No 18 168889 256421 060439
Yes 24 166250 237857 048552
Gender No 18 05000 051450 012127
Yes 24 06250 049454 010095
Age No 18 450000 1952977 460321
Yes 24 475000 1234645 252021
Race No 18 08333 038348 009039
Yes 24 08750 033783 006896
Religious Activities No 18 23889 084984 020031
Yes 24 31250 099181 020245









Functional Imaging Results

After performing deconvolution on the time-locked baseline and time-locked all

and negative affect blocks I performed a Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test. All p-values for the

KS test were p < .0001 therefore a descriptive based analysis was performed. Rejecting

the null hypothesis in the KS test demonstrates that the deconvolved HDR's fit the data

differently in the different cases of deconvolution.

All Affect Based Deconvolution T-Tests

After localizing the various clusters, various t-tests were performed to ascertain

any significant differences in possible global asymmetries between meditators and non-

meditators. Significant differences could not be demonstrated because of the low n of

subjects scanned in addition to the presence of individual differences in the subject's

datasets. After t-tests of designated regions of interest (ROI) were performed an attempt

was made to perform non-parametric statistical tests (i.e. Mann-Whitney test). The non-

parametric tests failed to demonstrate significant differences. A decision was made to

forego statistical tests of difference and move into a descriptive analysis.

All Affect Based Deconvolution Descriptive Analysis

In analyzing the cluster reports, the data was aggregated into meditators and non-

meditators. After localizing all clusters, clusters were grouped into various ROI's e.g.

BA 6 Middle Frontal Gyms and BA 9 Superior Frontal Gyms were grouped into the

Frontal lobe region in their respective hemisphere. In looking at hemispheric

asymmetries on a whole-brain level some interesting findings were discovered (see pie

charts below).












Non-meditator s00 Left vs Right Hemisphere


Meditator


S02 Left vs Right Hemisphere


Right


Non-meditator s01 Left vs Right Hemisphere


Meditator


Non-meditator s05 Left Vs Right Hemisphere


M editator s04 Left vs Right Hemisphere


Non-Meditators Left vs Right Global


Meditators Left vs Right Global


11657, 11


Figure 6: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting hemispheric
activity according to volume size. The red and blue pie charts above the
aggregated non-meditators give the breakdown of each individual non-
meditator subject. The blue and yellow pie charts above the aggregated
meditator data is the breakdown of each individual meditator subject.


s03 Left vs Right Hemisphere











The aggregated cluster data show that in the all based level 89% of the non-

meditator group data were isolated to the right hemisphere with a total volume size of

89945 il compared to only 27% of the meditator group with a total volume size of 23633

pl. The aggregated cluster data for the frontal region showed slight differences

hemispheric activity. Non-meditators right frontal region accounted for 47% of all

frontal activity with a volume size of 3694 [il while meditators right frontal region

accounted for 54% of all frontal activity with a volume size of 4505 pl.

Table 4: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (il).
Non-meditator Right Left

SOO 269 1068

S01 2995 3043

S05 430 0

Meditator

S02 689 1921

S03 3346 1844

S04 470 137


Non-Meditators Frontal Left vs Right





4111, 53% 3694, 47%


Meditators Frontal Right vs Left


3902, 46


Figure 7: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting frontal lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size.


In assessing limbic activity, limbic system structures were aggregated in their

proper hemispheric location and then total activity was summed in accordance with the


4505 54%










two groups. Limbic activity in meditators had a total volume of 5626 [l and non-

meditators had a total volume of 4212 Il. In non-meditators 73% of limbic activity was

isolated to the right hemisphere as opposed to meditators whose right hemisphere limbic

activity was only 40%.

Table 5: Individual subject data of volume of left and right limbic activity (il).
Non-meditator Right Left

SOO 1351 208

S01 1292 931

S05 430 0

Meditator

S02 1639 1261

S03 117 1718

S04 470 421


Figure 8: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting limbic system
hemispheric activity according to volume size.


The occipital region between the two groups showed differences with right

hemisphere dominant in non-meditators and the left hemisphere dominant in meditators.

Non-meditators right occipital region accounted for 91% of total occipital volume as

opposed to only 35% of total occipital activity in meditators.


NonMeditators Right vs Left Limbic System


Meditators Right vs Left Limbic System










Table 7: Individual subject data of volume of left and right occipital activity (.il).


Non-meditator


Right


SOO 19017 844

S01 0 460

S05 2989 953

Meditator

S02 1311 301

S03 228 3944

S04 1654 1712


Non-Meditators Occipital Right vs Left
2257 9%


^ Rigrt2


Meditators Occipital Right vs Left





C.t


Figure 9: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting occipital lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size.


Affect Based Deconvolution

Affect based deconvolution produced significantly lower R2 values which in turn

affect cluster reports. In creating the cluster reports a threshold of an R2 0.16 and a

volume size of 100 pl was implemented. This threshold caused many cluster reports of

affect based datasets to be absent of clusters that met the threshold criteria. Not

surprisingly all subjects' negative based datasets had sufficient activity to produce

clusters that met the cluster report criteria. Therefore in evaluating affect based datasets

only negative based datasets were assessed since all subjects were included in the

analysis.










Non-meditators total right hemisphere volume activity accounted for 24% of total

activity with a volume of 5638 [il and meditators right hemisphere activity accounted for

38% of total activity with a volume of 6188 pl.

Table 6: Individual subject data of volume of left and right activity (il).
Non-meditator Right Left

SOO 3202 1412

S01 664 1713

S05 1772 14544

Meditator

S02 616 0

S03 4399 9063

S04 1173 930


Non-Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Global


Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Global


Figure 9: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting hemispheric
activity according to volume size during presentation of negative affective
stimuli.


In assessing frontal lobe activity non-meditators right frontal activity accounted for

41% of total frontal activity with a volume 4633 [il of while meditators right frontal

activity accounted for 59% of total activity with a volume of 932 pl. More interesting

than the ratio of activity to hemispheres is the total frontal region activity. Non-

meditators total frontal region activity volume was 11172 .il while meditators total

volume was 1573 il.











Table 7: Individual subject data of volume of left and right frontal activity (il).


Non-meditator


Right


SOO 3202 1412

S01 0 1713

S05 1431 3414

Meditator

S02 0 0

S03 932 641

S04 0 0


Non-Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Frontal


Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Frontal


Figure 10: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting frontal lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size during presentation of negative
affective stimuli.


Non-meditators right occipital activity accounted for 43% of total occipital activity

as opposed to meditators whose right hemisphere occipital activity accounted for 65% of

total occipital volume.













Table 8: Individual subject data of volume of left and right occipital activity ()l).
Non-meditator Right Left

SOO 430 296

S01 519 0

S05 0 972

Meditator

S02 616 0

S03 1260 934

S04 133 125


Non-Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Occipital





gh 949 43
,. ght


Meditators Neg. Left vs Right Occipital






Right


Figure 11: Aggregated data of meditators and non-meditators depicting occipital lobe
hemispheric activity according to volume size during presentation of negative
affective stimuli.



Not enough limbic activity was present in the datasets to make a reasonable


comparison.

















CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

Wisdom Surveys

One of the groups to participate in this study was the Science of Spirituality which

is a non-profit, non-denominational organization that is headed by Sant Rajinder Singh.

In Sant Rajinder Singh's book on meditation, he captures the transformational process

that is the motivational factor behind many practitioners quest to begin and maintain a

meditative practice, "Through meditation, a whole new world opens up for us. By

learning meditation, we can gain entry through a doorway that leads us to worlds of bliss,

light, and love within" (Singh, 1999, p. 132). From another point-of-view, the heart of a

meditation practice is the cultivation of awareness. As stated by a popular Buddhist

psychiatrist, Mark Epstein M.D., "Breaking identification through the power of

awareness is the great contribution of the meditative approach, and it is inevitably

therapeutic" (Epstein, 1995, p. 125).

The results from the 3D-WS show an interesting pattern of significance. In

looking at the components of wisdom (cognitive, affective, and reflective dimensions)

only two of the components are significantly different between the groups tested. In each

case tested meditators scored higher in reflective and affective domains with affective

being slightly more significant in each case. If meditation is synonymous with only one

word, that word would be "awareness". Ardelt states about the reflective domain, "one









needs to engage in reflective thinking by looking at phenomena and events from many

different perspectives to develop self-awareness and self-insight" (Ardelt, 2003, p.278).

The practice of meditation is a process of developing self-awareness and insight. If the

meditator is engaging in self-awareness then the affective domains greater significant

difference suggests that engaging in self-awareness might produce altruistic emotions. In

discussing the improvement of affective emotions, Ardelt states that the improvement

would likely be brought about by a diminished self-centeredness (Ardelt, 2003). Self-

centeredness hinges upon the presence of a wholly intact ego that takes a position of

subjectivity in the flow of life. Writing on the developmental process of humanity, Ken

Wilber writes, "far from being some sort of narcissistic withdrawal or inward isolation,

meditation is a simple and natural continuation of the evolutionary process, where every

going within is also a going beyond to a wider embrace" (Wilber, 2000b, p. 263). The

widening of awareness naturally brings about a previously discussed notion of

aperspectival awareness. With this awareness a less and less subjective experience would

arise which would lead one towards empathy and compassion brought about via the

ability to be a witness for all sentient beings.

In all three cases, the cognitive domain failed to provide significant differences.

Previously it was mentioned that the cognitive component is comprised of items that

assess an understanding of life or the pursuit of truth. The relatively high level of

education among the participants explain the lack of cognitive significant difference.

Even though Ardelt (2003) didn't find a strong correlation between education and

wisdom she later mentions that those in pursuit of wisdom would likely seek advanced

degrees. In a correlation analysis of wisdom with the three cases the strongest correlation









with wisdom wasn't the length of time one spends per week in individual or group

meditation (r = 0.305; p = 0.049) or group meditative practice (r = 0.304; p = 0.05) but

whether an individual meditates at all (r = 0.421; p = 0.006). Perhaps the willingness to

engage in a practice that facilitates transformation is a strong indicator of wisdom.

Ardelt (2003) discussed the differences between wisdoms of different cultures.

Meditation has a long history in Eastern culture particularly in the religious traditions of

Buddhism. The enhancement of wisdom among meditators may reveal what Ardelt

(2003) stated, "Eastern wisdom traditions tend to integrate the cognitive, reflective, and

affective elements of wisdom. In the Eastern wisdom traditions, wisdom is characterized

by flexibility, honesty, sensitivity, understanding, compassion, altruism, and a balanced

state of mind that is able to perceive and accept the reality of the present moment"

(Ardelt, 2003, p. 283). In Path to Bliss the Dalai Lama comments on the two types of

wisdom, "the wisdom examining the ultimate natures of phenomena, and then wisdom

examining the conventional or relative nature of phenomena" (Lama, 1991, p. 192). The

3D-WS examines both types of wisdom in the three dimensions.

The lack of significant difference in all cases in the area of mastery is not a

surprise. The items that comprise the mastery scale tend to revolve around the issue of

helplessness. I would hypothesize that individuals with the level of education present in

the participants would tend to reveal a sense of mastery via their higher educational

pursuits. Revisiting the therapeutic nature of meditation, I find it very plausible that

purpose in life and subjective health are higher in meditators than non-meditators.

Meditators, group meditators, and threshold meditators all show significantly higher

purpose in life (all groups p < .01) and subjective health (all groups p < .05) scores. The









significant difference between meditators and non-meditators on the depression scale

further supports the claim of meditation as a therapeutic practice. Non-meditators scored

significantly higher on the depression scale which evaluates the psychological state of an

individual over the past week. This finding supports previous research and suggests

meditation is a therapy practice like Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness based therapy.

Education had no significant correlation with any dimension indicating that the

survey accurately detects a type of knowledge not found within the educational system.

A wise individual is sometimes depicted as an elder individual perhaps with gray or white

hair but the correlation analysis showed a negative correlation between age and wisdom

(r = -0.341; p = .027). No further demographic statistics were found to be significant

with any area of the survey except that gender correlated positively with the affective

domain (r = 0.336; p = 0.029). Gender was coded 1 for females therefore female

participants were shown to be significantly different than their male counterparts in the

affective domain.

Functional Imaging

The functional imaging data provided no statistically significant data. The low n

of each group was sufficient for the task of a pilot study investigating possible differences

in brain activation between meditators and non-meditators. In the time-locked to all

affect based deconvolution analysis, the interesting finding of a more pronounced right

hemisphere dominance in non-meditators than in meditators provides an interesting

framework for launching future studies. According to Lee (2004) the asymmetries of

emotion have found general right hemisphere dominance in the perception of emotion.

This asymmetry was clearly present for non-meditators but less so (or even reversed) for

meditators, in data aggragated over the hemispheres or in data restricted to limbic









structures. Hemispheric asymmetry was less consistent for frontal or occipital regions of

interest. In the negative affect dataset asymmetry does not show a consistent difference

between non-meditators and meditators. Lang & Bradley (1998) found that using

affective stimulation right hemisphere activation was greater than left.

Future Research

The possible underlying mechanisms for this neurological shift are not widely

understood since repeat scans of meditators viewing affective stimuli have not been

conducted. This study was a pilot to assess possible avenues for future research to

explore differences between meditators and non-meditators in the neuroimaging of

emotion. With the data collected from this study I would propose a study that analyzes

non-meditators who undergo meditation training. The same design of affective picture

stimuli could be implemented to analyze possible volumetric and laterality differences

over the course of meditation training. This study should utilize information derived

from the 3D-WS. It is important that future studies have control over their sample

population in order to isolate possible variables that could account for the variation in

data. Whether fMRI or some other form of non-invasive technology is utilized in

examining meditation, it should always be used in conjunction with behavioral

assessment in order to properly document all of the possible changes brought about

through the practice of meditation. The transformations of meditation practice are not

widely understood so future studies should develop protocols that assess many areas of

the subject.

Conclusion

This study has confirmed that Wilber' s theory of the right half and left half of the

four-quadrant system is an ongoing reciprocal relationship that can be shown through the









experimentation process. Thus the interdisciplinary nature of the study helped to

demonstrate the integral nature of meditation and that meditation is an ancient practice

that can be studied today via modern technology and methods. Its introduction to

Western culture on a mass level during the 1960's has transformed meditation from a

counter-culture practice to common practice as well as a therapy utilized in medicine. If

this study adds to the body of literature supporting the idea that meditation does indeed

provide a transformation within the body and mind of individuals then I feel I have

accomplished what I set forth to do.









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Marc Franklin Kurtzman was born in Tampa, Florida, on October 17, 1981. He

graduated from Sickles High School in 2000 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in

religious studies from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, in May 2004.

During Marc's junior year he was accepted into the combined Bachelor's/Maste'rs

program in the Department of Religious Studies. From August 2003 to July 2005, Marc

Kurtzman was employed as a neuroimaging research assistant in the Crosson

Neuroimaging Lab and a part of the neuroimaging core at the Malcom Randall V.A.

Medical Center's Brain Rehabilitation Research Center. Marc's interests are in the role of

religious activities and their possible effects upon the psyche and brain.