Yoav Schweitzer

Dissertation’s Title: Studying mindfulness-induced neuroplasticity in networks supporting the sense of self boundaries and relation to social processing.

Dissertation’s supervisors: Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana & Dr. Yochai Ataria.
Our research is aiming at investigating the neural mechanisms of sense of self boundaries among expert Mindfulness meditators and the possible neural plasticity after intense Mindfulness practice among novices, and its possible relation to well-being and social processing.
For this purpose, we will employ an MEG (magnetoencephalography) study to map the neural substrates underlying the sense of self boundaries. For studying the possible relation to well-being and social processing, behavioral and physiological tasks will be employed, and salivary Oxytocin levels will be measured before and after Mindfulness meditation course. 

PhD progress stage: Writing the proposal

Limor Shemesh

Dissertation’s Title: Meditation and Autobiographical memory

Dissertation’s supervisors: Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, Dr. Avi Mendelsohn.

The research examines the connection between autobiographical memory and mindfulness meditation. As we know today, the hippocampus functional connectivity of expert meditators is different compared to hippocampus function of controls that do not practice meditation.   What is the mechanism that mediate those changes in the hippocampus, is one of the main question of the research. To this end, I will reanalyze fMRI scans, taken from control participants and expert meditators (who practiced 10,000 hours of mindfulness mediation on average). As well, I will use autobiographical questionnaires and memory tasks.

  Shani Saar

Dissertation’s Title: Mindfulness based intervention in a Boarding school for At-risk youth.

Dissertation’s supervisors: Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, Dr. Yochai Ataria.

In this study we ask what are the  effects of Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on At-risk youth residing in a boarding school with regards to their mental health (mainly anxiety, post traumatic and dissociation symptoms), and their self-reflective and attention abilities.
A 3-week workshop designed based on MBSR and mindfulness-based somatic experience is now in progress, with a pre and post evaluation of the above mentioned parameters in a quantitative and qualitative examination.

Liat Ben Uriel

Dissertation’s Title: The Effects of Mindfulness on Teacher-Student Relationships: An Integrative Explanatory Model.

Dissertation’s supervisors: Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana, Dr. Shiri Lavy.

The Effects of Mindfulness on Teacher-Student Relationships will examine whether mindfulness alters teachers’ sense of self and emotional regulation capacities, and thus promote their ability to create and maintain meaningful, supportive relationships with their students, and improve the students' social skills, academic achievements and well-being.
This research proposes an integrative model of the effects of mindfulness, which comprises intrapersonal psychological and behavioral components, as well as interpersonal components (mainly teacher-student relationships). As thus, the model examines the effects of mindfulness practice on the practicing individual (i.e., the teacher) and the mechanisms underlying these effects, but also on expected beneficiaries of his/her work (i.e., the students). The model will be examined in two studies by questioners and behavioral tasks completed by teachers and students, assessing different aspects of the processes suggested in the model, and exploring them in different time intervals. So far the research proposal was submitted and approved.

Gal Sela

Dissertation’s Title: Neuro-phenomenological study on channeling experiences and its effect on the brain function in regard to the sense of Self.

Dissertation’s supervisors: Prof. Ofra Mayseless, Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana.

The objective of the study is to examine the underlying brain activity during meditative channeling, and trance channeling, focusing in particular on their influence on the sense of self (narrative self and minimal self). To this end we will use neuro-phenomenology (combining EEG, fMRI & interviews). The research is currently at a pilot stage.