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Scientific research highlights the central role of specific psychological processes, in particular those related to the self, in various forms of human suffering and flourishing. This view is shared by Buddhism and other contemplative and humanistic traditions, which have developed meditation practices to regulate these processes. Building on a previous paper in this journal, we propose a novel classification system that categorizes specific styles of meditation into attentional, constructive, and deconstructive families based on their primary cognitive mechanisms. We suggest that meta-awareness, perspective taking and cognitive reappraisal, and self-inquiry may be important mechanisms in specific families of meditation and that alterations in these processes may be used to target states of experiential fusion, maladaptive self-schema, and cognitive reification.

The article by Kok and Singer appearing in this issue of JAMA Psychiatry presents a novel training program to enhance perceived social connectedness through the use of dyadic contemplative practice. While scientific research on meditation and other contemplative practices has burgeoned over the past decade, this research has focused on a small subset of practices and, in particular, on the cultivation of mindfulness through formal sitting meditation. The current study by Kok and Singer (and the ReSource Project from which it is drawn) represents an important advance in scientific research by investigating the differential impact of multiple styles of contemplative practice and modes of training.In traditional contexts, a wide range of contemplative practices were used to bolster well-being. Some of these practices emphasized introspection and solitary self-inquiry, whereas others focused on self-exploration and self-transformation in the context of dialogue and relationship. The dyad practices featured in this investigation1 thus have roots in many contemplative and humanistic traditions and warrant serious study. The research reported in this article1 is thus a welcome ad- dition to the growing scientific literature on contemplative practice and highlights a form of practice that has heretofore not been systematically studied. In this editorial, we contextualize the work of Kok and Singer and use their important study as a springboard to call attention to critical issues in this area of research.