Author: Parkinson TD1, Kornelsen J2, Smith SD1,3
1Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
2Department of Radiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
3Department of Psychology, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Front Hum Neurosci.
Date published: 2019 Apr 12
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Pages: 112 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00112. eCollection 2019. , Word Count: 309
Mindfulness has been described as an orienting of attention to the present moment, with openness and compassion. Individuals displaying high trait mindfulness exhibit this tendency as a more permanent personality attribute. Given the numerous physical and mental health benefits associated with mindfulness, there is a great interest in understanding the neural substrates of this trait. The purpose of the current research was to examine how individual differences in trait mindfulness associated with functional connectivity in five resting-state networks related to cognition and attention: the default mode network (DMN), the salience network (SN), the central executive network (CEN), and the dorsal and ventral attention networks (DAN and VAN). Twenty-eight undergraduate participants completed the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), a self-report measure of trait mindfulness which also provides scores on five of its sub-categories (Observing, Describing, Acting with Awareness, Non-judging of Inner Experience, and Non-reactivity to Inner Experience). Participants then underwent a structural MRI scan and a 7-min resting state functional MRI scan. Resting-state data were analyzed using independent-component analyses. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed to determine the relationship between each resting state network and each FFMQ score. These analyses indicated that: (1) trait mindfulness and its facets showed increased functional connectivity with neural regions related to attentional control, interoception, and executive function; and (2) trait mindfulness and its facets showed decreased functional connectivity with neural regions related to self-referential processing and mind wandering. These patterns of functional connectivity are consistent with some of the benefits of mindfulness-enhanced attention, self-regulation, and focus on present experience. This study provides support for the notion that non-judgmental attention to the present moment facilitates the integration of regions in neural networks that are related to cognition, attention, and sensation.
KEYWORDS: central executive network; default mode network; dorsal attention network; functional connectivity; resting state networks; salience network; trait mindfulness; ventral attention network
PMID: 31031607 PMCID: PMC6473082 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00112