Clifford Saron

Saron Headshot

Position Title
Research Scientist

Room 149
267 Cousteau Place, Davis CA 95618


  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1999
  • M.S., Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1992
  • B.A., Biology, Harvard University, 1976


Clifford Saron is a neuroscientist who specializes in training of attention and emotion regulation. He applies electrophysiological and behavioral methods to study sensory and cognitive processes in humans (including those with autism spectrum disorders) , and he is a leading scholar of the tangible effects of meditation.

Research Focus

Professor Saron's research focuses on the training of attention and emotion regulation through contemplative practice. He directs "The Shamatha Project," the most comprehensive study initiated to investigate the effects of long-term intensive meditation on physiological and psychological processes related to attention, emotion regulation and health. This collaborative, multi-method, interdisciplinary longitudinal study incorporates qualitative, self-reporting, behavioral, electrophysiological and biochemical measures. He also is studying sensory processing, multisensory integration and interhemispheric communication in children who have autism spectrum disorders.


Saron Lab (Saron)


  • Lutz, A., Jha, A. P., Dunne, J. D., & Saron, C. D. (2015). Investigating the phenomenological and neurocognitive matrix of mindfulness-related practices. American Psychologist, 70(7), 632–658. Doi:10.1037/a0039585
  • Rosenberg, E. L., Zanesco, A. P., King, B. G., Aichele, S. R., Jacobs, T. L., Bridwell, D. A., . . . Saron, C. D. (2015). Intensive meditation training influences emotional responses to suffering. Emotion. Online first, May 4. doi:10.1037/emo0000080
  • Saggar, M., Zanesco, A. P., King, B. G., Bridwell, D. A., MacLean, K. A., Aichele, S. R., . . . Saron, C. D., Miikkulainen, R. (2015, July 1). Mean-field thalamocortical modeling of longitudinal EEG acquired during intensive meditation training. Neuroimage 114: 88–104. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.03.073
  • Zanesco, A. P., King, B. G., Maclean, K. A., & Saron, C. D. (2013, Sept. 18). Executive control and felt concentrative engagement following intensive meditation training. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7(566), 1–13. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00566
  • Garrison, K. A., Scheinost, D, Worhunsky, P. D., Elwafi, H. M., Thornhill, T. A., Thompson, E, Saron, C, . . . Brewer, J. A. (2013, Nov. 1). Real-time fMRI links subjective experience with brain activity during focused attention. Neuroimage 81(110-8). doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.030


  • Inaugural Templeton Prize Research Grant from the John Templeton Foundation (in honor of the 2012 Templeton Prize winner, H. H. the Dalai Lama), November 2012
  • Poptech science fellow (across all fields of science), 2011