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Richard J. Davidson, PhD

Richard J. Davidson, PhD

Psychology and Psychiatry Professor & Author

Founder of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Researching how mindfulness changes the emotional life of our brains

William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Davidson’s research is focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. His studies have included persons of all ages from birth through old age and have also included individuals with disorders of emotion such as mood and anxiety disorders and autism. Davidson uses wide range of methods including different varieties of MRI, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography and modern genetic and epigenetic methods to gather research.


He has published more than 400 articles and is the co-author of “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” and “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body”, both published by Penguin. Davidson has been recognized for his research through various awards, such as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award and an Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD). Davidson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been teaching psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1984.

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