fMRI Study of Architecturally-Induced Contemplative States

Sep 20, 2012

This presentation reports on an interdisciplinary investigation testing whether the perception of environments designed for contemplation elicit brain activations similar to those found under contemplative states. If architecture is shown to be an effective ‘external method’ to facilitate contemplation, then the beneficial effects of internally-driven contemplative practices (e.g., prayer, meditation) shown by recent neuroscience research could be extended to exposure to architecture designed for that purpose. The long-term goal is to investigate cognitive, emotional, and health effects of contemplative/sacred architecture on the wider population. This fMRI study supports the hypothesis that specially designed buildings may induce phenomenologies similar to those under contemplation.

Julio Bermudez, PhD, Assoc. AIA (The Catholic University of America)
David Krizaj, PhD (University of Utah)
David Lipschitz, PhD (University of Utah)
Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, PhD (University of Utah; VA Health Care System in Salt Lake City)
Yoshio Nakamura, PhD (University of Utah)
Presented at: 
2012 ANFA Conference (Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture

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