What Confucius practiced is good for your mind: Examining the effect of a contemplative practice in Confucian tradition on executive functions.

Author: Teng SC1, Lien YW2
1Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. 2Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. Electronic address: ywlien@ntu.edu.tw.
Conference/Journal: Conscious Cogn.
Date published: 2016 Mar 30
Other: Volume ID: 42 , Pages: 204-215 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.03.016. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 169

The short-term training effects on various executive functions (EFs) by a movement-based contemplative practice (MBCP) are examined. Three aspects of EFs (working memory capacity, inhibition, switching) are assessed before and after a month-long 12-h training period using Body-Mind Axial Awareness (BMAA) principles that Confucius followers have practiced for more than 2000years. A mindfulness-based practice (Chan-meditation) and a waiting-list control group served as contrast groups. Our results showed that the BMAA group performed better on the task that measured working memory capacity than did the Chan-meditation and the waiting-list groups after training. In addition, the Chan-meditation groups outperformed the control group on attentional switching, a novel finding for this kind of practice. Our findings not only show a new effect of short-term MBCPs on EFs, but also indicate movement-based and mindfulness-based contemplative practices might benefit development of various aspects of EFs in different ways.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: Executive function; Meditation; Mindfulness training; Movement-based contemplative training; The body-mind axis; Ya-Yue

PMID: 27038245 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]