Dr. J. Doty: Hacking your brain for happiness

Hacking your brain for happiness
Dr. James Doty

Apr 5, 2016

Dr. James Doty explains the neurological benefits of Compassion. “Project Compassion” has now turned into a leading research and educational institution and the only institution solely focused on the study of Compassion, Altruism and Empathy.

James Robert Doty, M.D., examines the neural, mental, and social bases of compassion. He serves as Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and Founder and Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) – of which the Dalai Lama is the founding benefactor. He serves as Chairman of the Dalai Lama Foundation and as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religion.

He has just release his first book, Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.

The MindUp Program

The Hawn Foundation – The MindUp Program
May 18, 2011

Neuroscience + Mindful Awareness Training = Thriving Children with Goldie Hawn
The Aspen Institute
Dec 18, 2014
brain breaks


Teaching the ABCs of Attention, Balance and Compassion: Susan Kaiser Greenland at TEDxStudioCityED

Bite-sized Mindfulness

Deconstructing Mindfulness (Davos 2015)

Davos 2015 – The Human Brain > Deconstructing Mindfulness
Feb 2, 2015
World Economic Forum

How can a better understanding of the neural basis of mindfulness meditation lead to improved clinical applications?

Richard J. Davidson, William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA; Global Agenda Council on Mental Health.
Thomas R. Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health, USA; Global Agenda Council on Mental Health.

metacognitive learning

cognitive control

not instead of medication, but in addition to

The Hawn Foundation

Gates Foundation: develop a game to teach middle-schoolers the skills of mindfulness in a game-like format

Is there too much mindfulness? (can you overdo it?)

People would rather be electrically shocked …


Twelve of 18 men in the study gave themselves at least one electric shock during the study’s 15-minute “thinking” period.
By comparison, six of 24 females shocked themselves.
All of these participants had received a sample of the shock and reported that they would pay to avoid being shocked again.

“What is striking,” the investigators write, “is that simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.”

original article:
Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind
Science 4 July 2014: 345 (6192):75-77
Timothy D. Wilson, et al.

In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

Rick Hanson: Hardwiring Happiness

IdeaSphere: 131216
‎‎December ‎20, ‎2013

Hardwiring Happiness: Neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson has a different way of looking at the functions of the brain and our inherent tendency to focus on the negative.
What he’s realized is that simply using positive thinking isn’t the answer. Neither is the practice of mindfulness.
He says you have to rewire your brain.

Kurzweil > Books