Focused attention meditation training modifies neural activity and attention: longitudinal EEG data in non-meditators.

Author: Yoshida K1, Takeda K2, Kasai T3, Makinae S4, Murakami Y5, Hasegawa A6, Sakai S1
1Faculty of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University.
2Department of Rehabilitation for the Movement Functions, Research Institute of National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities.
3Faculty of Education, Hokkaido University.
4Graduate School of Education, Hokkaido University.
5Department of Occupational Therapy, Hokkaido Bunkyo University.
6Graduate School of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University.
Conference/Journal: Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci.
Date published: 2020 Feb 12
Other: Pages: nsaa020 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1093/scan/nsaa020. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 216

Focused attention meditation (FAM) is a basic meditation practice that cultivates attentional control and monitoring skills. Cross-sectional studies have highlighted high cognitive performance and discriminative neural activity in experienced meditators. However, a direct relationship between neural activity changes and improvement of attention caused by meditation training remains to be elucidated. To investigate this, we conducted a longitudinal study, which evaluated the results of electroencephalography (EEG) during three-stimulus oddball task, resting state, and FAM before and after 8 weeks of FAM training in non-meditators. The FAM training group (n = 17) showed significantly higher P3 amplitude during the oddball task and shorter reaction time for target stimuli compared to that of the control group (n = 20). Furthermore, a significant negative correlation between F4-Oz theta band phase synchrony index (PSI) during FAM and P3 amplitude during the oddball task, and a significant positive correlation between F4-Pz theta band PSI during FAM and P3 amplitude during the oddball task were observed. In contrast, these correlations were not observed in the control group. These findings provide direct evidence of the effectiveness of FAM training and contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the effects of meditation on brain activity and cognitive performance.

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press.

KEYWORDS: EEG; attention; meditation; phase synchrony; training

PMID: 32064537 DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsaa020