Alfred Kaszniak received his Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology from the University of Illinois in 1976, and completed an internship in clinical neuropsychology at Rush Medical Center in Chicago. He is currently Director of Clinical Neuropsychology, Director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium Education Core, and a professor in the departments of psychology, neurology, and psychiatry at The University of Arizona (UA). He formerly served as Head of the Psychology Department, and as Director of the UA Center for Consciousness Studies. Dr. Kaszniak also presently serves as Chief Academic Officer for the Mind and Life Institute, an organization that facilitates collaborative scientific research on contemplative practices and traditions. His research, published in over 150 journal articles, chapters and books, has been supported by grants from the NIH, NIMH, and several private foundations. His work has focused on the neuropsychology of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders, consciousness, memory self-monitoring, emotion, and the psychophysiology of long-term and short-term meditation. Dr. Kaszniak has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, and has been an advisor to the National Institutes of Health and other governmental agencies. He is a Past-President of the Section on Clinical Geropsychology and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. In addition to his academic and administrative roles, he is a lineage holder and teacher in the Soto tradition of Zen Buddhism.
This discussion focuses on some of the fruits of "contemplative science," and the implications of this body of meditation research for contemplative practice. It also explores how this area of research has come to gain increasing respectability within the scientific community, and address the question of whether contemplative science may serve as a skillful means for making meditation practice more approachable for a greater number of people in modern western culture.