Richard Davidson

Most Influential Person

American psychologist

Why Is Richard Davidson Influential?

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Richard Davidson currently holds the title of William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously held a position at the State University of New York at Purchase. In addition to being a professor, Davidson is the director and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds. Davidson completed his undergraduate studies at New York University, and his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1976.

Davidson’s work is primarily focused in understanding neurological bases for emotional states, and applying these insights to encourage well-being. In particular, Davidson is interested in these states across the human lifespan. Davidson has popularized the idea of neuroplasticity, arguing that humans can learn happiness and compassion just as they can learn other skills. Davidson’s research has led to working with the Dalai Lama in efforts to better understand how meditation affects the brain and emotional states.

Published works by Davidson include, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body along with Daniel Goleman, and The Emotional Life of Your Brain with Sharon Begley.

For his work, Davidson has received awards and honors including the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, and has been recognized as one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

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According to Wikipedia, Richard J. Davidson is professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as well as founder and chair of the Center for Healthy Minds and the affiliated non-profit Healthy Minds Innovations.

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