MADISON – The study of the human mind and how the worlds of science, religion and contemplative practice intersect will be explored during two panel discussions in November.

Three leaders in the study of neuroscience, training the mind and the religious contemplative life will participate in a panel discussion during “Contemplation and Education – Landscape of Research,” from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Wisconsin Union Theatre, 800 Langdon St. Doors open at 7 p.m. The panelists will explore how contemplative practice affects the brain, leading to improved learning performance, and what this offers to education.

A second panel, “Science, Religion and Contemplative Practice,” which will explore how meditative practices can enrich everyday personal and professional lives, is scheduled for 8:30-10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center, 5445 East Cheryl Parkway.

The panelists for both sessions are:

– Father Thomas Keating, who teaches the contemplative dimensions of Christianity and is founder of the Centering Prayer Movement and Contemplative Outreach. He is a best-selling writer who has worked with inter-religious dialogue groups.

– Richard Davidson, William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and director of the Laboratory for Affective Science and the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recognized as a pioneer in mind-body medicine, Davidson’s recent work focuses on neuroplasticity, the capacity of the brain to develop and change throughout life.

– John Dunne, an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Emory University and co-director of the Encyclopaedia of Contemplative Practices and the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies. His work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice.

The panels are sponsored by UW-Madison’s Laboratory for Affective Science, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, the Religious Studies Program, and the HealthEmotions Research Institute; The Impact Foundation; Promega Corporation; and BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute. UW-Madison’s Department of Educational Psychology is helping to sponsor the Nov. 12 panel.

Both sessions are free and open to the public, although seating is limited. Registration is required at For more information, visit