Friday, March 03, 2006
More on how meditation may increase the thickness of some cortical areas
An interview with Sandra Lazar. in Science and Consciousness Review. "The most significant ... difference was in the right anterior insula. The right anterior insula has been identified in many studies of emotion processing, as well as in studies of attention and cognition. It has also been shown to be involved in modulating physiology, and has strong connections with other brain areas that are more centrally involved in these processes (for example the amygdala, brain stem and frontal cortex). It is thought to relay and integrate these signals between the various areas, in order to influence behavior (i.e., it connects emotional regions with the decision-making part of the brain, so that emotions can influence your decisions). It is not yet clear what increased thickness means; those experiments are just beginning. However we hypothesize that increased thickness will correlate with increased ability to perform certain tasks that require the integration of emotion and cognition --- for example, handling stressful situations.