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Dr Elena Antonova receives 2010 Templeton Positive Neuroscience Award

03 September 2010

Dr Elena Antonova, a Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the IoP, has recently been announced a recipient of the 2010 Templeton Positive Neuroscience Award ( to lead a study which will examine how the practice of mindfulness effects sensory processing in the brain.

The award is a collaboration between the Positive Psychology Centre of the University of Pennsylvania and the John Templeton Foundation ( with $2.9 million funding directed towards understanding how the brain enables human flourishing. Elena is amongst a prestigious list of awardees which includes recipients from Harvard, Yale and Princeton for this year’s inaugural call.  

Dr Antonova said: 'I’m delighted to win this award. Traditionally, psychology and neuroscience focused on the study of mental illness, with no operationalised definitions of well-being and human flourishing. The development of Positive Neuroscience will allow advancing our understanding of the conditions that allow us to reach our utmost potential and lasting happiness.'

Dr Antonova will receive $180,000 to study the neural processes that allow our brain to be open to the sensory information flow without being overwhelmed by it. Normally, human brain filters information that comes through the senses to enable us to process and concentrate on things that are most relevant. Some people who suffer from schizophrenia or are vulnerable to it also do not filter the information and their mind can become overloaded, which leads to mental fragmentation and thought disorder. The project will tap into the brain mechanisms that allow expert mindfulness practitioners to integrate sensory information during reduced or absent sensory filtering ‘protecting’ them from information overload, whilst enabling them to develop superior attention, cognitive flexibility and overall well-being.



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