Meditation increases the entropy of brain oscillatory activity.

Author: Martínez Vivot R1, Pallavicini C2, Zamberlan F3, Vigo D4, Tagliazucchi E5
Author Information:
1National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Departamento de Física, FCEyN, UBA, e Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires (IFIBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas UCA-CONICET (BIOMED), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Departamento de Física, FCEyN, UBA, e Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires (IFIBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Fundación para la Lucha contra las Enfermedades Neurológicas de la Infancia (FLENI), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
3National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Departamento de Física, FCEyN, UBA, e Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires (IFIBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
4National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas UCA-CONICET (BIOMED), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
5National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Departamento de Física, FCEyN, UBA, e Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires (IFIBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina. Electronic address: tagliazucchi.enzo@googlemail.com.
Conference/Journal: Neuroscience.
Date published: 2020 Feb 4
Other: Pages: S0306-4522(20)30056-7 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.01.033. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 220


We address the hypothesis that the entropy of neural dynamics indexes the intensity and quality of conscious content. Previous work established that serotonergic psychedelics can have a dysregulating effect on brain activity, leading to subjective effects that present a considerable overlap with the phenomenology of certain meditative states. Here we propose that the prolonged practice of meditation results in endogenous increased entropy of brain oscillatory activity. We estimated the entropy of band-specific oscillations during the meditative state of traditions classified as 'focused attention' (Himalayan Yoga), 'open monitoring' (Vipassana), and 'open awareness' (Isha Shoonya Yoga). Among all traditions, Vipassana resulted in the highest entropy increases, predominantly in the alpha and low/high gamma bands. In agreement with previous studies, all meditation traditions increased the global coherence in the gamma band, but also stabilized gamma-range dynamics by lowering the metastability. Finally, machine learning classifiers could successfully generalize between certain pairs of meditation traditions based on the scalp distribution of gamma band entropies. Our results extend previous findings on the spectral changes observed during meditation, showing how long-term practice can lead to the capacity for achieving brain states of high entropy. This constitutes an example of an endogenous, self-induced high entropy state.

Copyright © 2020 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: EEG; Meditation; alpha oscillations; entropy; gamma oscillations

PMID: 32032666 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.01.033

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