The Buddha’s Extra Scoop: Neural Correlates of Mindfulness and Clinical Sport Psychology

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Donald R. MarksLa Salle University

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Recent studies using neuroimaging technologies offer evidence that ancient beliefs about the benefits (e.g., enhanced attention, increased distress tolerance) associated with mindfulness practice and other forms of meditation may be supported by identifiable neuroanatomical changes in the brain. Although it is too early to make probative statements regarding exactly how and why contemplative practices affect the structure and activity of the brain, sport psychologists may want to consider the potential implications of the findings that have begun to emerge from this neural correlates research. The goal of this article is to (a) review the findings from the principal studies of contemplative practice that have employed measures of neuronal activity (e.g., fMRI, EEG) and (b) examine the potential relevance of these studies to the treatment of psychological disorders among athletes and the enhancement of athletic performance.

Donald R. Marks is with the Department of Psychology at La Salle University in Philadelphia. E-mail:

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