Faculty Spotlight: Prof. Alfred Kaszniak

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Despite the pandemic and the challenges of teaching in new configurations, our Center faculty members were productive in 2020, publishing numerous articles and books, presenting at conferences, and winning awards and grants. In this series of posts, we celebrate the achievements of the Center’s faculty and fellows.

Professor Alfred Kaszniak is an emeritus professor in the departments of Psychology, Neurology, and Psychiatry at the University of Arizona. He was formerly Director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium Education Core, Director of the Neuropsychology, Emotion, and Meditation Laboratory, and Faculty and Advisory Board member of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute. Prof. Kaszniak served as Chief Academic Officer for the Mind and Life Institute, an organization dedicated to dialog and collaboration between science and contemplative traditions. Prof. Kaszniak is the co-author or editor of seven books, including the three-volume Toward a Science of Consciousness (MIT Press), and Emotions, Qualia, and Consciousness (World Scientific). His research, published in over 155 journal articles and scholarly book chapters, has focused on the neuropsychology of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders, cognition and emotion in healthy aging, consciousness, memory self-monitoring, emotion, and the psychophysiology of long-term and short-term meditation. In addition to his academic and research administrative roles, he is a teacher (Sensei) in the Soto tradition of Zen Buddhism, and serves as President of the Board of Directors of Upaya Zen Center and Institute, Santa Fe, NM.


In 2020, Prof. Kaszniak published an article with co-authors titled “Effects of a brief,

online, focused attention mindfulness training on cognition in older adults:

A randomized controlled trial” in Mindfulness, Vol. 11, No. 5. In March, he gave

an invited presentation to the Chaplaincy Program at the Upaya Zen Center and

Institute in Santa Fe, NM on “Neuroscientific and social psychologic research on

meditation.” In April, Prof. Kaszniak was an invited discussant for “Compassion as

skillful means: A Naropa University thinktank,” a two-day symposium sponsored

by Naropa University in Boulder, CO.


In May, Prof. Kaszniak was invited to give a talk titled “The gateless gate of awareness” at the Pre-Varela International Symposium, sponsored by Upaya Zen Center and Institute. Also in May, he was a co-organizer and faculty member with Roshi Joan Halifax of the Varela International Symposium: Exploring the great landscape of awareness: Insights from neuroscience, cognitive science, Buddhism. The event was a three-day program sponsored by the Upaya Zen Center and Institute and presented online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


For more information about Prof. Kaszniak’s interests and publications, please visit: http://emotion.web.arizona.edu/Kaszniak.htm