We are an intensely social species — it has been argued that our social nature defines what makes us human, what makes us conscious or what gave us our large brains. As a new field, the social brain sciences are probing the neural underpinnings of social behaviour and have produced a banquet of data that are both tantalizing and deeply puzzling. We are finding new links between emotion and reason, between action and perception, and between representations of other people and ourselves. No less important are the links that are also being established across disciplines to understand social behaviour, as neuroscientists, social psychologists, anthropologists, ethologists and philosophers forge new collaborations.
The impact of mindfulness on neural networks
There is mounting evidence that mindfulness meditation is beneficial for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, yet little is known regarding the neural mechanisms through which mindfulness modulates emotional responses. Thus, a central objective of this functional magnetic resonance imaging study was to investigate the effects of mindfulness on the neural responses to emotionally laden stimuli. Another major goal of this study was to examine the impact of the extent of mindfulness training on the brain mechanisms supporting the processing of emotional stimuli.