The University of Miami’s Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative (MRPI) is an inter-disciplinary collaboration across the University of Miami to engage novel implementation and cutting- edge brain research on mindfulness/contemplative training. Contemplative training has roots in the East and is offered in nonsectarian, accessible, and innovative ways to optimize performance, enhance wellness, and promote resilience. Our active research projects involve training military cohorts, University students, and medical and legal professionals to determine the basic brain mechanisms underlying contemplative practice. In addition, the Initiative aims to offer lecture series and workshops for individuals at the University of Miami and broader South Florida Community to learn about and engage in mindfulness training.
MPRI was formed in 2010 by Dr, Amishi Jha, who serves as the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience, and Scott Rogers, who serves as the Director of Programs and Training. The MRPI is a joint partnership of the College of Arts and Sciences, UM Law School, UM Miller School of Medicine, Herbert Wellness Center, Counseling Center, and the Frost School of Music.
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness involves paying attention to present-moment experience without engaging conceptual elaboration and emotional reactivity. Mindfulness trainings include daily mindfulness exercises, conceptual and experiential presentations, multi-week courses, and intensive retreats. Cognitive (attention, working memory, meta-cognition) and affective (emotion regulation and reactivity) functions are core mental operations affected through contemplative practices. There is growing evidence that mindfulness training influences these functions to improve concentration, mood and well-being.
What is Contemplative Neuroscience
Contemplative neuroscience is the neuroscientific investigation of contemplative practices (e.g., mindfulness training, compassion training). These practices, born in the East, are now offered in many nonsectarian contexts to promote wellness, resilience, and optimize performance. While there is growing evidence that engaging in contemplative practices is beneficial for mind, body, and relationships there is very little known about how this happens. The questions we ask in our contemplative neuroscience research program focus on how basic cognitive, affective, and neural mechanisms are altered with contemplative training. Specifically, we investigate training-related changes in brain and behavioral signatures of attention, working memory, emotion-regulation, perceptual processing, and decision making. Our research takes place using cutting edge neuroimaging methods including signal detection and performance measures, functional and structural MRI, brainwave recording, and peripheral physiology.
What We Do
We recognize that the growing interest in mindfulness practices is resulting in university administrators, faculty, staff, and students seeking to learn more about mindfulness and find ways of bringing it into their daily lives, professionally and personally.
Together we are creating a clearinghouse for the collection, dissemination, and discussion of information on what is taking place in the area of mindfulness, and a forum for the discussion of how we might work together to broaden the reach and effectiveness of information, research, and trainings in mindfulness within the University and to the community.