Listed in Issue 289


VAN DAM and COLLEAGUES, 1 1 Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne; 2 2 Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai;   3 3 Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering, University of Groningen; 4 4 Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Departments of Psychiatry and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; 5 5 College of Science and Integrative Health, Southern California University of Health Science;      6 6 Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis; 7 7 Integrated Dharma Institute, Amherst, Massachusetts; 8 8 Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School; 9 9 Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; 10 10 Department of Family Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University; 11 11 Silver School of Social Work, New York University; 12 12 Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University; 13 13 Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University; 14 14 Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University; 15 15 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, West Virginia University; 16 16 Department of Psychology, University of Michigan explore Challenges in Scientific Research on Mindfulness and Meditation


During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and "key to building more resilient soldiers."


Yet the mindfulness movement and empirical evidence supporting it have not gone without criticism. Misinformation and poor methodology associated with past studies of mindfulness may lead public consumers to be harmed, misled, and disappointed. Addressing such concerns, the present article discusses the difficulties of defining mindfulness, delineates the proper scope of research into mindfulness practices, and explicates crucial methodological issues for interpreting results from investigations of mindfulness.


For doing so, the authors draw on their diverse areas of expertise to review the present state of mindfulness research, comprehensively summarizing what we do and do not know, while providing a prescriptive agenda for contemplative science, with a particular focus on assessment, mindfulness training, possible adverse effects, and intersection with brain imaging.


Our goals are to inform interested scientists, the news media, and the public, to minimize harm, curb poor research practices, and staunch the flow of misinformation about the benefits, costs, and future prospects of mindfulness meditation.


Nicholas T Van Dam  1   2 , Marieke K van Vugt  3 , David R Vago  4 , Laura Schmalzl  5 , Clifford D Saron  6 , Andrew Olendzki  7 , Ted Meissner  8 , Sara W Lazar  9 , Catherine E Kerr  10 , Jolie Gorchov  11 , Kieran C R Fox  12 , Brent A Field  13 , Willoughby B Britton  14 , Julie A Brefczynski-Lewis  15 , David E Meyer  16. Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation. Perspect Psychol Sci. ;13(1):36-61. doi: 10.1177/1745691617709589. Epub Oct 10 2017.  Jan 2018.

Outstanding Challenges in Scientific Research on Mindfulness and Meditation.

Davidson RJ, Dahl CJ. Perspect Psychol Sci.13(1):62-65. doi: 10.1177/1745691617718358. Epub 2017 Oct 10. Jan 2018.



Reiterated Concerns and Further Challenges for Mindfulness and Meditation Research: A Reply to Davidson and Dahl. Van Dam NT, van Vugt MK, Vago DR, Schmalzl L, Saron CD, Olendzki A, Meissner T, Lazar SW, Gorchov J, Fox KCR, Field BA, Britton WB, Brefczynski-Lewis JA, Meyer DE. Perspect Psychol Sci. 13(1):66-69. doi: 10.1177/1745691617727529. Epub Oct 10 2017 . Jan 2018. Erratum in Letter to the Editor: Miscommunicating Mindfulness. Van Dam NT, van Vugt M, Vago DR, Schmalzl L, Saron CD, Olendzki A, Meissner T, Lazar SW, Gorchov J, Fox KCR, Field BA, Britton W, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Meyer DE. Perspect Psychol Sci. 15(5):1289-1290. doi: 10.1177/1745691620924057. Epub Aug 4 2020 .  Sep 2020.

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