Toward a Refined Mindfulness Model Related to Consciousness and Based on ERP

Author: Charles Verdonk, Marion Trousselard, Frédéric Canini, Francois Vialatte, Céline Ramdani
1 Neurophysiology of Stress Unit, Neurosciences and Cognitive Sciences Department, French Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France.
2 Plasticité du Cerveau, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) Paris, Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL), CNRS.
3 French Military Health Service Academy, Paris, France.
Conference/Journal: Perspect Psychol Sci
Date published: 2020 Jun 8
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/1745691620906444. , Word Count: 173

Neuroimaging, behavioral, and self-report evidence suggests that there are four main cognitive mechanisms that support mindfulness: (a) self-regulation of attention, (b) improved body awareness, (c) improved emotion regulation, and (d) change in perspective on the self. In this article, we discuss these mechanisms on the basis of the event-related potential (ERP). We reviewed the ERP literature related to mindfulness and examined a data set of 29 articles. Our findings show that the neural features of mindfulness are consistently associated with the self-regulation of attention and, in most cases, reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli and improved cognitive control. On the other hand, there appear to be no studies of body awareness. We link these electrophysiological findings to models of consciousness and introduce a unified, mechanistic mindfulness model. The main idea in this refined model is that mindfulness decreases the threshold of conscious access. We end with several working hypotheses that could direct future mindfulness research and clarify our results.

Keywords: body awareness; cognitive control; consciousness threshold; emotion regulation; event-related potential; mindfulness; self-regulation of attention.

PMID: 32513068