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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan;1307:19-27. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12246. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

The posterior cingulate cortex as a plausible mechanistic target of meditation: findings from neuroimaging.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


There has been an increased interest in mindfulness and meditation training over the past decade. As evidenced by exponential growth in the number of publications since the beginning of the 21st century, progressively more is becoming known about both the clinical efficacy and underlying neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness training. This paper briefly highlights psychological models of stress that converge between ancient and modern day (e.g., operant conditioning); identifies key brain regions that, with these models, are biologically plausible targets for mindfulness (e.g., posterior cingulate cortex); and discusses recent and emerging findings from neuroimaging studies of meditation therein, including new advances using real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging neurofeedback in neurophenomenological studies.


default mode network; fMRI; meditation; mind wandering; task-positive network

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