Contemplative neuroscience, self-awareness, and education

Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, Patricia A. Jennings, Shiri Lavy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Accumulating research in education shows that contemplative practices contribute to and foster well-being of individuals in sustainable ways. This bears special importance for teachers, as it affects not only them but also their students. Based on accumulating behavioral and neuroscientific findings, it has been suggested that a key process by which mindfulness meditation enhances self-regulation is the altering of self-awareness. Indeed, accumulated work shows that the underlying networks supporting various types of self-awareness are malleable following meditative practice. However, the field of education has developed independently from the study of the self and its relation to contemplative neuroscience thus far, and to date there is no systematic account linking this accumulating body of knowledge to the field of education or discussing how it might be relevant to teachers. Here we show how incorporating insights from contemplative neuroscience—which are built on the conceptualization and neuroscience of the self—into contemplative pedagogy can inform the field and might even serve as a core underlying mechanism tying together different empirical evidence. This review points to potential neural mechanisms by which mindfulness meditation helps teachers manage stress and promote supportive learning environments, resulting in improved educational outcomes, and thus it has significant implications for educational policy regarding teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeditation
EditorsNarayanan Srinivasan
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9780444642271
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Bial Foundation, awarded to A.B.-O., Joseph Glicksohn, and Tal Dotan Ben-Soussan (228/14). Research on the CARE program was supported by the United States Department of Education, Institute of Educational Sciences R305A140692 to the University of Virginia (P.A.J.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Contemplative neuroscience
  • Education
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Self
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Contemplative neuroscience, self-awareness, and education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this