Recruiting volunteers to take part in research

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - 16:32

The Center for Philosophical and Humanistic Studies of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Catholic University of Portugal - Braga, is developing the research project “Neuroanatomical correlates of wellbeing in a mindfulness and religious exercises program”, supported and financed by the Bial Foundation

They seek to answer the question “can the well-being resulting from religiosity be compared with that resulting from the practice of mindfulness?” by analyzing similarities and differences in brain structure and neuronal activity resulting from the practice of mindfulness (MBSR - Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program) and the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loiola, in groups of individuals with experience in the respective practices, compared with a control group. 

This is innovative work, but it will only be possible with the collaboration of volunteers who take part in this experiment, which will last approximately 9 days of their time. 

Participants in the spiritual exercises group should book their dates between August 8 and 13, 2024 inclusive. Participants in the mindfulness group should book their dates between July 11 and 16, 2024 inclusive. 

In addition to taking part in the retreats, they will also be asked to take part in an evaluation the week before and after the exercises, on a date to be agreed. In the pre-exercise evaluation, some questionnaires will be administered and the first MRI will be carried out; this will be followed by five days of spiritual or mindfulness exercises; finally, on the last two days, the initial protocol (questionnaires and MRI) will be repeated. There will be no invasive procedures such as blood sampling or the administration of contrast fluid. Participants will not be charged for their stay during the programs.

Participants must

  1. be over 18 years of age;
  2. have previous knowledge and experience of spiritual exercises or mindfulness exercises;
  3. not have had a head injury or brain disease.  

If you wish to take part in this study, you must meet the inclusion criteria, read and agree to the informed consent form.