Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is Research Psychiatrist at UCLA School of Medicine and a seminal thinker and researcher in the field of self-directed neuroplasticity. He is the author of over 100 scientific publications in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry, and several popular books including The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force (2002), and Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior (1997). Dr. Schwartz has been featured nationally on prominent TV shows, including Oprah, 20/20, Today Show, Donahue and Leeza. He was a consultant to Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio on The Aviator (and appears with them on the bonus DVD extras of that film) and appeared in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
Dr Schwartz’s primary research interest over the past two decades has been brain imaging and cognitive-behavioral therapy, with a focus on the brain mechanisms and psychological treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Schwartz’s most recent academic writing has been in the field of philosophy of mind, specifically on the role of volition in human neurobiology. He has also applied his approach of “mind over brain” to the fields of business leadership and organizational behavior, as featured in two articles in Strategy+Business magazine in 2006 and 2011.
After receiving an honors degree in philosophy from the University of Rochester, Dr. Schwartz began to devote a substantial amount of time to Buddhist philosophy — in particular to the philosophy of mindfulness, or conscious awareness, which revolves around the central idea that the mind is an active participant in the world and that its actions have a physical effect on the workings of the brain. He thus set out to find a scientific underpinning for the belief that mindfulness affects how the brain functions, and in the 1990s finally made his key discovery at UCLA. As shown on PET scans, a four-step cognitive behavioral therapy that he has pioneered is capable of actually changing the activity in a specific brain circuit of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. His current interests include the philosophical theology of Bonhoeffer and the role of meditation in enhancing mindful awareness and it’s effects on mind-brain relations.