Meditation Effects on the Control of Involuntary Contingent Reorienting Revealed With Electroencephalographic and Behavioral Evidence

Shao Yang Tsai, Satish Jaiswal, Chi Fu Chang, Wei Kuang Liang, Neil G. Muggleton, Chi Hung Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior studies have reported that meditation may improve cognitive functions and those related to attention in particular. Here, the dynamic process of attentional control, which allows subjects to focus attention on their current interests, was investigated. Concentrative meditation aims to cultivate the abilities of continuous focus and redirecting attention from distractions to the object of focus during meditation. However, it remains unclear how meditation may influence attentional reorientation, which involves interaction between both top-down and bottom-up processes. We aimed to investigate the modulating effect of meditation on the mechanisms of contingent reorienting by employing a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task in conjunction with electrophysiological recording. We recruited 26 meditators who had an average of 2.9 years of meditation experience and a control group comprising 26 individuals without any prior experience of meditation. All subjects performed a 30-min meditation and a rest condition with data collected pre- and post-intervention, with each intervention given on different days. The state effect of meditation improved overall accuracy for all subjects irrespective of their group. A group difference was observed across interventions, showing that meditators were more accurate and more efficient at attentional suppression, represented by a larger Pd (distractor positive) amplitude of event related modes (ERMs), for target-like distractors than the control group. The findings suggested that better attentional control with respect to distractors might be facilitated by acquiring experience of and skills related to meditation training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalFrontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 May 2018

Keywords

  • Attentional control
  • Attentional suppression
  • Contingent reorienting
  • Event related modes
  • Meditation

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