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Publication - Professor Guy Claxton

    Mindfulness, learning and the brain


    Claxton, G, 2005, ‘Mindfulness, learning and the brain’. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, vol 23 (4)., pp. 301 - 314


    I have tried to sketch an approach to the complex phenomena that go by the name of mindfulness that both does justice to this complexity and depth, and also offers a way of thinking about mindfulness in evolutionary, ecosocial and neural terms: terms that enable us to ask questions like: where did mindfulness come from? What kind of consciousness is it? What was it for, before it was co-opted by spiritual and therapeutic kinds of discourse and practice? And how do brains do it? In essence, I am suggesting that human brains seem to have developed, for good evolutionary reasons, a degree of facility with imaginative empathy and as-if identification; and that mindfulness capitalises on this to create what is probably a uniquely human form of learning or rather unlearning.

    Full details in the University publications repository