Clinical

Meditating just once proves to make a difference

A recent research from Michigan State University, the biggest of its type to date, showed that meditation may help you become less error prone if you are forgetful or make errors when you are hurried. Meditation that concentrates awareness on one’s thoughts and emotions as they develop in the mind and body was examined to see whether it changed brain activity in such a manner that it indicates improved mistake detection.

According to Jeff Lin, an MSU psychology doctorate candidate and research co-author, “people’s interest in meditation and mindfulness is surpassing what science can show in terms of impacts and advantages.” We were able to detect changes in brain activity in non-meditators after only an hour and a half of guided meditation, which is “incredible” to me. Although various types of meditation may have distinct neuropsychological benefits, Lin stated that little study has been done on the influence of open monitoring mediation on mistake detection.

“Some types of meditation require you to concentrate on a single thing, such as your breathing, but open monitoring meditation is a little different,” Lin said. “Your mind and body will be on full alert as a result. Sitting quietly and paying careful attention to where the mind goes without becoming distracted is the aim of meditation.” With the help of William Eckerle, Ling Peng, and Jason Moser, Lin and his MSU co-authors tested how open monitoring meditation impacted people’s ability to identify and react to mistakes by recruiting over 200 individuals.

The first-time meditators underwent a 20-minute open monitoring meditation exercise, during which the researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain activity. After that, participants took a distraction test on a computer. We were able to get millisecond-level measurements of neuronal activity immediately after errors were made and compared to correct answers using EEG technology, Lin said. “The error positivity, a kind of brain signal that comes around half a second after a mistake and is associated with conscious error awareness, may be seen in humans. We discovered that meditators had a stronger signal than controls.”

Although the meditators’ work performance did not improve immediately, the results of the researchers provide a promising insight into the possibilities of long-term meditation. Just 20 minutes of meditation may significantly improve the brain’s capacity to notice and pay attention to errors, according to the study’s lead author, David Moser. Mindfulness meditation has the potential to improve performance and everyday functioning right there in the present, says the study’s author.

When it comes to the impacts of meditation and mindfulness on the brain, Lin is one of the few researchers who uses a neuroscientific method to see what they are. Next, he plans to involve a larger sample of people, test various meditation techniques, and see whether changes in brain activity translate into behavioral shifts over the course of a longer practice period. It’s encouraging to see the public’s interest in mindfulness, Lin said, but more research is needed to determine the advantages it may have as well as how it functions. “It’s about time we started looking at it with a more critical eye,” he said.

Works Cited

Michigan State University. (2019, November 11). How meditation can help you make fewer mistakes: Meditating just once proves to make a difference. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 4, 2021 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191111124637.htm

Categories: Clinical