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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 review our speaking page to submit your request 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 and Director Richard Davidson’s latest book Altered Traits, his previous 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,, 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.

What is the Healthy Minds Framework? Can I use it for research?

The Center for Healthy Minds has created a new scientific framework for understanding how human flourishing can be nurtured consisting of four pillars of well-being: awareness, connection, insight and purpose. Research shows that each of these four pillars are related to specific networks in the brain and can be strengthened through meditation and other forms of mental training. Learn more about the framework.

This framework is also at the foundation of the Healthy Minds Program app and fully mobile well-being intervention developed in partnership with Healthy Minds Innovations, the external nonprofit affiliated with the Center for Healthy Minds. The Healthy Minds Program is available to researchers as part of a study or intervention. Please reach out to the contact information provided on this page.

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

We are not enrolling schools or classrooms in any studies over the next year. We appreciate your support and all the work you are doing to build a kinder, wiser, more compassionate world.

If you're interested in receiving more information about products and services related to the curriculum as they become available, please join this email list from Healthy Minds Innovations, an affiliated organization dedicated to supporting the Center for Healthy Minds.

How can I join the Center's growing community?

Connect with us by signing up for our e-newsletter and following our social accounts. Visit the Join the Movement section of our website to explore how you can cultivate well-being in yourself. In addition, making a gift sustains the Center’s work and enables us to expand our research into new and exciting territory.

How do I contact Richard Davidson and experts at the Center for a media interview?

For media interviews, please contact our office through this form to get the quickest response. You can also join our media list to receive news releases from the Center.

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

You can sign up to receive a pdf copy of the curriculum.

As you learn more about these well-being practices, you might also be interested in the following articles and resources:

Mindful Movement for Young Learners

Lessons from Creating a Kindness Curriculum

Well-Being Tips for Children and Families

Resources for Cultivating Well-Being in Children

If you're interested in receiving more information about products and services related to the curriculum as they become available, please join this email list from Healthy Minds Innovations, an affiliated organization dedicated to supporting the Center for Healthy Minds.

​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 are the Center's core values?

We are committed to pursuing our work and creating a work environment with these core values in mind.


...conduct our work with rigor

We are dedicated to meeting our mission through high quality work, whether it’s research or other initiatives. We uphold these standards through continuous learning, respectfully challenging each other to improve, engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations, and intellectual humility.

...make an impact on the world

Impact is the grounding principle for all the research and work we do together. We pay attention to what our work means in the world, prioritize research and projects that have the greatest potential to promote well-being and relieve suffering, and strive to increase the reach of beneficial results of our work.

...cultivate a prosocial workplace

How we do our work together matters. We are committed to creating a workplace and community of collaborators that embodies our mission and vision. We practice this commitment by interacting with respect, kindness, compassion and gratitude toward each other and the resources we share.

What are you doing to cultivate diversity, equity and inclusion at the Center?

As a research organization focused on individual and global well-being, the Center for Healthy Minds must actively create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where every member of the community can flourish. 

This refers to every aspect of the work at the Center – from the scientific methods and communities included in the research, to people employed here and who our work ultimately benefits. 

Below are three ways the Center is committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

Increase the Diversity of Staff and Leadership

Simply put, who leads and implements the work influences what work is done and how it is done. 

Every search for new employees at our Center will include outreach to communities of color to broaden the talent pool for a more diverse staff. Center leaders are committed to diverse representation and carefully examining from whom we regularly seek counsel and why.

Make the Research Inclusive

Research must be inclusive in order to better understand the impacts of our work across all communities. Expanding the scientific community at the Center to include more Black scholars and people of color will not only improve quality of the research, but also cultivate a workplace where all members of the community are more likely to feel valued, appreciated and free to be their true selves.

Additionally, the Center is committed to recruiting more diverse groups of people to take part in research studies to enable a deeper understanding of the skills and capacities that lead to well-being and how they can be strengthened and developed through training and experience. In our studies, we commit to including people with a broad range of life experiences so we can learn what works for whom and why. The Center will rigorously question the concepts that have evolved in the course of a privileged, white-controlled scientific enterprise so that the work can be relevant to all of humanity. 

Practice a Compassionate, Equitable Worldview

A kinder, wiser, more compassionate world starts with each person. The Center and its staff will continually examine who is within the Center’s circles of trust, and how those circles affect the worldviews and decisions made by those at the Center. All members of the Center community must commit to actively educating themselves about issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity, as well as engage in the deep inner personal work needed to challenge underlying biases and assumptions. Doing this deep personal work as individuals and as a community can contribute significantly to cultivating an environment where every member of the Center is encouraged and feels comfortable sharing their experiences and ideas. 

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'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.