Amishi Jha, PhD

The Science of Mindfulness and Attention

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What You'll Learn

  • Learn the 3 main systems of attention, and hear how the strengths and vulnerabilities of each show up in the modern learning environment

  • Explore the common challenges to focused attention, and understand how mindfulness can be a consistent tool for combating them

  • Follow along in a mindful breathing exercise and learn how this and other mindfulness practices train each system of attention

About Amishi Jha, PhD

Amishi Jha, is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami, and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, prior to which she was an Assistant Professor at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD from the University of California–Davis, and received her postdoctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University in functional neuroimaging. She studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion and resilience. With grants from the Department of Defense and several private foundations, she has been systematically investigating the potential applications of mindfulness training in education, corporate, elite sports, and the military contexts. In addition to her own published body of research, her work has been featured at, the World Economic Forum, NY Times, NPR, the Aspen Institute, the Pentagon, the Journal of Special Operations Medicine, and Joint Force Quarterly.

Mind & Life Fellow

About Rona Wilensky, PhD

Rona Wilensky is Director of Mindfulness Programs at PassageWorks Institute where she teaches SMART in Education, a mindfulness program for educators. From 1992- 2009 she was founding principal of New Vista High School, an innovative public high school of choice in Boulder, Colorado. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and was member of the Leadership Council of the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplative Teaching and Learning. Rona holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and taught that subject at Williams College and the University of Denver in the early 1980’s.

Check out Rona's work at PassageWorks.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below!


  1. sree October 21, 2019 at 5:07 am - Reply

    This is such a wonderful tool to manage stress and anxiety. Hope the research like these help the schools everywhere.

  2. Susie October 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    This was so interesting! I am a cello teacher and particularly interested in helping students navigate the multi-modal demands on their attention when playing in an orchestra. Are there any resources you can recommend?

  3. Srishti Nigam October 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Fantastic way to Tease apart, albeit Scientifically with the precision of a surgeons knife, “Attention “
    Use of Metaphors is scintillating for clarification
    I would like to offer my gratitude

  4. Hafsa October 19, 2019 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you! Helpful

  5. Hafsa October 19, 2019 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you!

  6. genevieve October 19, 2019 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Bonjour à tous.

    Thank you for explaining clearly how to train one’s mind especially with your metaphors. Simple and effective. Awakening in a kind and effective way for ourselves and children. Merci.
    Bien à vous.

  7. Selena October 19, 2019 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Love the neuroscience research explanation on attention. Excited to implement more systematic mindful attention based practices into my classroom!

  8. Gabrielle Kuchler October 19, 2019 at 3:39 am - Reply

    This presentation was pure gold ! I am so thrilled to discover the links between attention and mood disorders or ADD. Thank you so much

    • Elena October 19, 2019 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Excellent info! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise.

  9. Anna October 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I loved the metaphors you used for the three functions of attention. I like this video in conjunction with the video of Dr. Treleaven from yesterday, where he talks about offering alternative anchors than the breath for those who have experienced trauma. So, for example, if the “flashlight” malfunctions and goes inward when it should go outward, it could increase anxiety if the trigger for flashbacks to the trauma is related to the body in some way. But this video was fascinating. Thank you so much for describing attention in this way! It has helped me understand so much!

  10. Maritza Diaz October 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed this segment. My main take always is to be in the moment while standing in line. Use words as task switching instead of multi-task. Great session! Thank you.

  11. Magali October 18, 2019 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Excellent and generous!
    I will certainly search more on the MBAT.
    Thank you very much!

  12. Meena October 18, 2019 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Thank you, I was pleasantly surprised to hear how daydreaming/aimless wandering is beneficial for rest and possible creative solutions. I didn’t know about this aspect in mindfulness

  13. Irene Kenison October 18, 2019 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Thank you for valuable concise metaphors of attention processes. Happy to hear that mindfulness helps to mitigate attention degradation. Being a bit older, I am relieved to hear that my issue is with reluctance to task switch, and that I am not the only one unable to multitask many varied tasks.

  14. Maria Ruiz-Blanco October 18, 2019 at 9:29 am - Reply

    One of the most inspiring and informative presentation so far. Thank you so much!

  15. may zaw naing October 17, 2019 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    Simple and informative presentation. Thank you for sharing

  16. Emma Gonzalez October 17, 2019 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for the info. I am one of those people that say, “I can multi-task”. Well, I think I need to rethink on how I do things to give them my “Full attention”.

  17. Isabel Arline Duque October 17, 2019 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Excellent presentation on Attention and the three pillars and the role of technology in the XXI Century.Also the concept of multitasking was clarified.Thanks, I personally enjoyed the presentation and will be benefited from it when dealing with students with DDA,or with students going under situations of anxiety and stress.By the way, my students live in Mexico.
    People should know what happens to your attention when your are driving and using the phone at the same time….


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