Change Your Mind, Change the World

Center for Healthy Minds
at the Waisman Center

University of Wisconsin-Madison
1500 Highland Ave, Suite S119
Madison, WI 53705-2280
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FAQs

We get a lot of questions. Here are answers to our most popular.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take part in a research study?

Visit our study participation page for a list of studies currently recruiting participants. If you meet the eligibility requirements listed, please contact the study coordinator as indicated. All information submitted is confidential.

Can someone from the Center speak at my event?

Please complete our speaking request form and include as much detail about your organization and event as possible.

How can I advance the research?

We’re forging a kinder, wiser, more compassionate world -- a world we want to live in. Will you join us? Making a gift to the Center not only advances our research, but it also sustains it and ensures existing projects move forward. With nearly 40 percent of the Center’s funding coming from supporters, gifts from people like you make our work possible. We also encourage you to cultivate well-being in your life by sharing your experiences and skills with your friends, family and community. You can learn more about our contribution to the field and tips from our science in our Join the Movement section.

How can I cultivate positive qualities of mind?

The Center for Healthy Minds is a research center dedicated to conducting vigorous scientific study of healthy qualities of mind. As such, we typically do not offer mindfulness or other types of meditation training unless it is part of an official research study.

We suggest checking out Center Founder Richard Davidson’s latest book The Emotional Life of Your Brain and resources from other organizations that focus on well-being, including the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS Medical School, Integrative Medicine and MBSR at UW Health, Greater Good Science Center: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Oxford Mindfulness Center, The Garrison Institute, Mindful.org, American Mindfulness Research Association, Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Tergar International Meditation Community and Tergar Madison, the Mind & Life Institute, the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and Mindfulness Without Borders.

Please note that we are a research center and do not provide clinical services. Contact your mental health professional or mental health hotline for assistance and counseling.

How can I get my child’s school involved in the Kindness Curriculum study?

As we secure additional funding, we hope to expand this research to include more classrooms and schools – both in Madison, Wisconsin, and eventually other cities. However, the determination of which schools are invited to participate will depend on the design of the study and type of sample (participants) needed to be scientifically valid.

How can I join the Center's growing community?

You can visit the Join the Movement section of our website to explore how you can cultivate well-being in yourself and others as well as connect with our community through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and email updates. In addition, making a gift sustains the Center’s work and enables us to expand our research into new and exciting territory.

Is it possible to receive a copy of the Center's Kindness Curriculum?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer the curriculum at this time. Our Center’s Kindness Curriculum research study is in the early stages of testing with select schools locally in Wisconsin. This research is focused on specific grade levels and populations of students. Our materials and lesson plans are used only for research purposes and are not available for distribution or general use at this time.

Is the Center hiring?

Any current open paid positions are listed on the employment section of our website and the employment opportunities page at the University of Wisconsin–Madison website. Be sure to enter "Center for Healthy Minds" in the search field.

What's "contemplative practice?"

Though the term is not easily defined, many consider contemplative practices as ways of training the mind to enact a process of self-transformation. Some forms of practice affect well-being by strengthening certain forms of attention, while others do so by nurturing healthy qualities of mind or by undoing habits and other factors that inhibit well-being.

While the notion of “contemplation” itself is a broad category with vague boundaries, we can point to key features generally shared by contemplative practices: they are based on the idea that well-being can be learned; they emerge within communities of practitioners, usually over the course of multiple generations; they emphasize mental training through specific techniques that enhance core capacities and virtues such as attention, emotion regulation and compassion; and they tend to focus on the process of training and personal transformation that occurs in an open-ended way allowing for ongoing development throughout one’s lifetime.

​What is the Center currently studying?

The Center has a diverse portfolio of research projects, exploring a wide range of ideas from how the brain works at the most basic level to the impact of mindfulness-based curricula in schools and ways to leverage digital games to foster pro-social behavior in children.

See a complete list of research projects.

What is the Center's relationship to Buddhism?

The Center is a secular organization that studies well-being. As a part of this, our researchers study contemplative practices, many of which have been around for thousands of years in Buddhist traditions. This exploration into how practices such as meditation shape the mind has been a growing interest of many scientists, scholars and world leaders.

Center for Healthy Minds Founder Richard Davidson and colleagues have collaborated with the 14th Dalai Lama to better understand how the mind works and how to harness research findings for the greater good. The two met in 1992 when His Holiness challenged Davidson to apply the rigors of science to studying healthy qualities of mind such as kindness, compassion, gratitude and empathy. The Dalai Lama is passionate about scientific research and visits Davidson and the Center regularly to hear updates on the work. Studying traditions, including Buddhism, also allows scientists to examine practices that are largely uniform in how they’re taught and executed.

We’re also asked why we refer to the Dalai Lama as “His Holiness.” This international title shows the highest level of respect and is akin to other titles such as “Mr. President” in the United States.