|Reference code: ||PT/FB/BL-2008-149.02|
|Location: ||Arquivo PCA - Pasta 13/2008|
|A closer look at meditation: Challenging the attentional network on different types of meditative procedures|
|Publication year: ||2012|
Objectives: Meditation can be described as a special way to pay attention on a continuous
moment to moment basis. Research has shown that meditation techniques are able to enhance
attentional capacities. We took a closer look at this relationship between meditation and
attention. Regarding the human attentional network three distinct and different systems of
attention (alerting, orienting and executive control) are described. We focused on developing
assessment tools for the description of a meditation practice focusing on motivation and
attentional focus. Further, we to assess whether meditators practicing predominately mindfulnessbased
meditation techniques perform better on the orienting-component of the attentional
network compared to meditators practicing predominately concentration-based techniques, while
the concentration-based group should perform better in the executive control system.
Methods: For assessing attentional strategies a new questionnaire was developed. In order to
assess whether we can distinguish between different meditation approaches 24 different
meditators performed the Attention Network Test (ANT) assessing the alerting, orienting and
executive network simultanously by measuring reaction time and event related potentials (ERP) of
the EEG. A matched group of 24 non-meditators served as controls.
Results: Based on the analysis of a sample of more than 500 meditators a 31-item scale with
excellent psychometric properties and four distinctive scales could be developed. In the ANT part
of the study meditators showed better performance in the executive network (p=.01). No
correlation could be found between self-report of attention strategy and performance in the ANT.
ERP analyses revealed shorter latency to N1 in meditators compared to controls (alerting
network). For the executive network the N2 difference in meditators was much smaller than in
controls indicating reduced executive processing.
Discussion: We were able to operationalize meditation strategies, context and motivation with
three different questionnaires. The ERPs were only indicative on
the executive component of the ANT while there was no difference for the two other networks.
Conclusions: We could conclude that obviously the hypothesized attentional effect could not be
uncovered with this type of test. This supports to think more detailed about the specific quality of
presence and the associated attentional benefits which are cultivated by meditation.
|Accessibility: ||Document does not exist in file|
|Secondary author(s): |
|Walach, H., Hinterberger, T., Braeunig, M., Naranjo, J. R., Simshäuser, K.|
|Document type: |
|Number of reproductions: |
|Schmidt, S., Walach, H., Hinterberger, T., Braeunig, M., Naranjo, J., & Simshäuser, K. (2012). A closer look at meditation: Challenging the attentional network on different types of meditative procedures. In Aquém e além do cérebro. Behind and beyond the brain. Proceedings of the 9th Symposium of Fundação Bial (p. 48/63). Porto: Fundação Bial.|
|Indexed document: ||No|
|Keywords: ||Meditation / Attention network / Electroencephalogram (EEG) / Event-related potential (ERP)|