Sunday, October 23, 2005

Monks, Moms, and Happiness: Aristotle was right

It seems behavioral scientists are now (unconsciously perhaps) coming to the same conclusion as Aristotle (and Aquinas too) when he said that happiness is found, culminates in, the life of contemplation.

Katherine Ellison comments on a recent report:

Brain-scanning studies led by University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson find that mothers gazing at pictures of their babies and Tibetan monks contemplating compassion both show marked activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area apparently tied to happiness.

Davidson's research on meditating monks (more extensive than his work on moms) suggests their brains also produce very strong gamma waves, which have been linked to concentration and memory.

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