Richard Smith

Research Specialist


I am a Research Specialist primarily using high-density EEG to investigate the neural correlates of sleep and consciousness. For over a decade, I have worked on various projects, including helping to train on best practices for acquiring and analyzing HD-EEG data. My primary interest and work has been investigating long-term meditators during sleep, normal waking, and altered states of consciousness to explore how meditation induces neural plasticity and to test hypotheses related to the integrated information theory of consciousness. I received my BS in neurobiology and psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I also lead and teach meditation at the Madison Zen Center and have been practicing meditation for the past two decades. Prior to working at the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, I worked in Anthony Stretton’s lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison using mass spectrometry to explore novel neuropeptides in the nematode Ascaris suum.

Research Interests: meditation, consciousness, sleep, dreaming, EEG.

Selected Publications

Plante DT, Cook JD, Barbosa LS, Goldstein MR, Prairie ML, Smith RF, Riedner BA. Establishing the objective sleep phenotype in hypersomnolence disorder with and without comorbid major depression. Sleep. 2019 Jun 11;42(6):zsz060. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz060. PMID: 30854559; PMCID: PMC6559176.

Castelnovo A, Riedner BA, Smith RF, Tononi G, Boly M, Benca RM. Scalp and source power topography in sleepwalking and sleep terrors: a high-density EEG study. Sleep. 2016 Oct 1;39(10):1815-1825. doi: 10.5665/sleep.6162. PMID: 27568805; PMCID: PMC5020364.

Dentico D, Ferrarelli F, Riedner BA, Smith R, Zennig C, Lutz A, Tononi G, Davidson RJ. Short Meditation trainings enhance non-REM sleep low-frequency oscillations. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 22;11(2):e0148961. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148961. PMID: 26900914; PMCID: PMC4764716.

Jones SG, Riedner BA, Smith RF, Ferrarelli F, Tononi G, Davidson RJ, Benca RM. Regional reductions in sleep electroencephalography power in obstructive sleep apnea: a high-density EEG study. Sleep. 2014 Feb 1;37(2):399-407. doi: 10.5665/sleep.3424. PMID: 24497668; PMCID: PMC3900624.

Ferrarelli F, Smith R, Dentico D, Riedner BA, Zennig C, Benca RM, Lutz A, Davidson RJ, Tononi G. Experienced mindfulness meditators exhibit higher parietal-occipital EEG gamma activity during NREM sleep. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 28;8(8):e73417. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073417. PMID: 24015304; PMCID: PMC3756031.