Today we speak with Dr. Nicolas Van Dam (@ntvandam), Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
Nicholas is a clinical psychologist and directs the Decision Making and Affective Learning in Emotional Conditions lab or DALEC lab. There he investigates the things that make us most like robots, including predictable and algorithmic processes in decision making models, and the things that make us least like robots, including interoception, self-awareness, introspection and meditation. The focus of both streams of work is to help those with high-prevalence psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety, depression and substance-use disorders.
In this conversation, we talk mindfulness. We discuss the state of mindfulness-related research and the implications for therapists and clinicians.
2:00 – On Nicholas’s research areas.
3:30 – How Nicholas came to study self-awareness and self-perception processes in relation to high-prevalence psychiatric conditions.
5:30 – On the state of the meditation research field at the time of the Mind the Hype paper
9:45 – Where are is mindfulness in the hype cycle
14:15 – Key points made by the Mind the Hype paper.
22:20 – On whether the disagreements about definitions of mindfulness are fundamental or academic
28:30 – On extracting mindfulness from its Buddhist context
47:20 – On mindfulness-based clinical interventions
53:25 – Should clinician’s be recommending mindfulness?
59:00 – The impact of the Mind the Hype paper.
1.02:20 – What is Nicholas focusing on now?
1.05:30 – Advice to students
1.07:30 – On neurofeedback in meditation
Retracted PLOS One paper on Mindfulness-based Interventions.
The Mind the Hype paper which Nicholas lead.
The Mindful Elite by Jaime Kucinskas
Stephen Batchelor’s books, including Buddhism Without Beliefs