Meditation-Induced States, Vagal Tone, and Breathing Activity Are Related to Changes in Auditory Temporal Integration.

Author: Linares Gutierrez D1, Kübel S2, Giersch A3,4, Schmidt S5, Meissner K6,7, Wittmann M8
Author Information:
1Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, 79098 Freiburg, Germany.
2Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, 79098 Freiburg, Germany.
3INSERM U1114, 67091 Strasbourg, France.
4FMTS, Psychiatry Department, University Hospital of Strasbourg, 67200 Strasbourg, France.
5Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Medical Faculty, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
6Division of Integrative Health Promotion, Department of Social Work and Health, University of Applied Sciences, 96450 Coburg, Germany.
7Institute of Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, 80336 Munich, Germany.
8Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, 79098 Freiburg, Germany.
Conference/Journal: Behav Sci (Basel).
Date published: 2019 May 7
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Issue ID: 5 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/bs9050051. , Word Count: 205

This study is based on the relationship between meditation, the present moment, and psychophysiology. We employed the metronome task to operationalize the extension of the present moment. A pre-post longitudinal study was conducted. The performance in the metronome task was compared before and after the interventions (meditation, story). The aim was to assess whether physiological changes (heart, breathing) during meditation influence the temporal-integration (TI) of metronome beats. Mindfulness meditators either meditated (n = 41) or listened to a story (n = 43). The heart and breathing activity were recorded during the intervention and compared to a resting-state condition. By applying path analyses we found that meditation led to an increase of the duration of integration intervals at the slowest metronome frequency (inter-stimulus interval, ISI = 3 s). After meditation, the higher the heart-rate variability (i.e., the root mean square of successive differences, RMSSD), the longer the duration of integration intervals at the fastest frequency (ISI = 0.33 s). Moreover, the higher the breathing rate during meditation, the greater the integration of intervals at ISI = 1 s. These findings add evidence to meditation-induced changes on the TI of metronome beats and the concept of the embodiment of mental functioning.

KEYWORDS: auditory temporal integration; breathing rate; heart-rate variability; mindfulness meditation; present moment

PMID: 31067755 DOI: 10.3390/bs9050051