ScienceDaily (2011-04-20) — Neuroimaging research shows that Buddhist meditators use different areas of the brain than other people when confronted with unfair choices, enabling them to make decisions rationally rather than emotionally.

The Sarkis Summary:

The brain’s anterior insula, is usually activated when a person experiences the emotions of rejection and mistrust. In this study, the MRI showed the control group’s (non-mediators) anterior insula was active when presented with a hypothetical “unfair” offer. Not only that, but the more active the anterior insula, the more likely it was that the study subject would reject this “unfair” offer.

However, for meditators, there was no activity in the anterior insula when they were presented with an “unfair” offer. The brain had learned to separate the event from the emotion, thus leading to more rational thought. In the meditators’ brains, the posterior insula was active instead.