Can experienced meditators voluntarily turn off their consciousness?
A study reveals that experienced meditators are able to voluntarily modulate their state of consciousness during meditation.
What do we remember from a movie varies with age?
Researchers evaluated how young adults and middle-aged recall detailed information from a movie after one week.
The Portuguese Medical Association and the BIAL Foundation deliver the 3rd edition of the Maria de Sousa Award
The award ceremony for the third edition of the Maria de Sousa Award took place on November 16 at Teatro Thalia, in Lisbon, and was attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, who chaired the session, the Secretary of State of Health Promotion, Margarida Tavares, and the Secretary of State for Higher Education, Pedro Teixeira. The five winners, all young researchers in health sciences, are Inês Alves (i3S, U.Porto), Nuno Dinis Alves (ICVS, U.Minho), Catarina Palma dos Reis (CHULC - Maternidade Dr. Alfredo da Costa, Lisboa), João Neto (i3S, U.Porto) and Sara Calafate (ICVS, U.Minho).
Electrophysiological signature of cessations
The paper Investigation of advanced mindfulness meditation “cessation” experiences using EEG spectral analysis in an intensively sampled case study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, examines the neural signature of “cessation” events (momentary void of consciousness) during mindfulness meditation. The study, carried out by Matthew Sacchet in the scope of the research project 99/20 - Beyond "mindfulness" and toward a modern science of meditative mastery and spiritual transformation, supported by the BIAL Foundation, showed that EEG alpha-power decreases started 40 seconds before cessations and were lowest immediately following a cessation. Region-of-interest (ROI) based examination of this finding revealed that the alpha-suppression was most pronounced over the occipital and parietal regions of the brain, and linearly decreased with time for the entire pre-cessation duration.
What are the predictors of therapeutic alliance?
In the scope of project 178/12 - How collaboration in psychotherapy becomes therapeutic: a study of interactive and psychophysiological processes in good and poor outcome cases, supported by the BIAL Foundation, Eugénia Pereira and colleagues published the paper Data mining techniques in psychotherapy: applications for studying therapeutic alliance in the journal Scientific Reports. Applying data mining and Machine Learning (ML) techniques, the study aimed to identify the key factors or variables that significantly impact the strength of the therapeutic alliance (TA) between clients and psychotherapists. The results showed that the heart rate (HR) of the therapist was negatively associated with the therapist’s TA and the electrodermal activity (EDA) emerged as the most influential biological feature in the prediction of the TA, in the client but not in the therapist. Thus, the results from the ML algorithm document the differential importance of the physiological variables in the therapist and client (HR and EDA, respectively), for predicting TA, suggesting different experiences during therapy sessions for the dyad and with different underlying neurophysiological mechanisms.
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