Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice

Author: Antoine Lutz A//Greischar LL//Rawlings NB//Ricard M////
Affiliation: W. M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, Waisman Center, and Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705; and ‡Shechen Monastery, P.O. Box 136, Kathmandu, Nepal
Conference/Journal: PNAS
Other: Volume ID: 101 , Issue ID: 46 , Pages: 16369–16373 , Word Count: 142

Practitioners understand ‘‘meditation,’’ or mental training, to be a process of familiarization with one’s own mental life leading to long-lasting changes in cognition and emotion. Little is known about this process and its impact on the brain. Here we find that long-term Buddhist practitioners self-induce sustained electroencephalographic high-amplitude gamma-band oscillations and phase-synchrony during meditation. These electroencephalogram patterns differ from those of controls, in particular over lateral frontoparietal electrodes. In addition, the ratio of gamma-band activity (25–42 Hz) to slow oscillatory activity (4–13 Hz) is initially higher in the resting baseline before meditation for the practitioners than the controls over medial frontoparietal electrodes. This difference increases sharply during meditation over most of the scalp electrodes and remains higher than the initial baseline in the postmeditation baseline. These data suggest that mental training involves temporal integrative mechanisms and may induce shortterm and long-term neural changes.