Expectations of all members of the Davidson lab community

The Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience is now officially part of The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. LfAN and CIHM have always been close siblings. Now they're officially one organization.

Dr. Richard J. Davidson's website launched, with information on his book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

Upcoming Events

June 8-12, 2014 Human Brain Mapping in Hamburg, Germany

Prospective Grad Students

So you want to apply to graduate school and work in the Davidson lab

New Studies

Research Participation Registry

Other open studies

Research in the News

April 28: London Telegraph: Marriage can cause depression, study finds Also see: London Daily Mail, Independent, UW-Madison News

January 23: Huffington Post: From The Midwest To Davos, Richard Davidson Is Starting Conversations On Mindfulness, Happiness, And The Power Of Giving

December 10: Medical News Today: Meditation changes gene expression, study shows Also see: Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, UW-Madison News

December 2: Huffington Post: Mindfulness in Everyday Life: Compassion and the Art of Having Fun

October 2: UC-Berkeley Greater Good Science Center: Can Mindfulness Make Us Better Teachers? Also see: UW-Madison News, PsychCentral

September 11: New York Times: Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

July 15: Huffington Post: Why Companies Are Turning To Meditation And Yoga To Boost The Bottom Line

July 7: New York Times: The Morality of Meditation

June 30: LaCrosse Tribune: Compassion takes plenty of practice

May 22: APS Psychological Science: Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering Also see:UPI, Salon, Cosmopolitan, BBC Radio 4, UW-Madison News

More news...

What We Do

fMRIThe Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience is part of The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center.

The Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience engages in a broad program of research on the brain mechanisms underlying emotion and emotion regulation in normal individuals throughout the life course. The populations we study include normal middle-aged and older adults, infants, toddlers, children and adolescents as well as individuals with various psychiatric disorders.

We also study relations between the central circuitry of emotion and peripheral biology to probe the mechanisms of mind-brain-body interaction. A fundamental part of most of our research is a focus on individual differences in affective style - how and why individuals differ dramatically in how they respond to emotional challenges.

We are interested in both risk and resilience - why are some individuals particularly vulnerable in response to negative life events, while others appear to be relatively resilient? How can we promote enhanced resilience? As a part of the latter work, we study interventions designed to cultivate more positive affective styles. One such intervention that we have extensively studied over the past decade is meditation.

In addition to the research on normal affective function, we also study a range of psychopathologies, all of which involve abnormalities in different aspects of emotion processing. Included among the disorders we have recently studied are adult mood and anxiety disorders, and autism, fragile X and Williams syndrome in children. Some of our current research involves:

  • Voluntary and automatic emotion regulation.
  • Resilience in aging.
  • Interactions between emotion and cognitive function, particularly working memory and attention.
  • Temperament in children, in hopes of determining early signs of vulnerability to psychopathology.
  • Social and emotional processing differences in children and adults with autism and fragile X.
  • Mood and anxiety disorders.
  • The impact of pharmaco-therapy and psychotherapy on brain function in patients with mood and anxiety disorders.
  • The effects of meditation on brain function in adept practitioners and novices.
  • Relations between neural mechanisms of emotion and peripheral measures of inflammation and lung function in asthma.

We are located at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and conduct research in a number of locations across campus, including the Department of Psychology, the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, and the Health Emotions Research Institute.