Brief meditative exercise helps cognition

April, 2010

Great news for those who crave the benefits of meditation but find the thought a bit intimidating! Adding to evidence that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, a small study has found cognitive benefits from as little as four sessions of 20 minutes.

Great news for those who crave the benefits of meditation but find the thought a bit intimidating! While a number of studies have demonstrated that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, now a small study involving 49 students has found that as little as four sessions of 20 minutes produced a significant improvement in critical cognitive skills, compared to those who spent an equal amount of time listening to Tolkien's The Hobbit being read aloud. Both groups showed similar improved levels of mood, but only the meditation group improved their cognitive scores. While this group improved on all cognitive tasks, they did dramatically better when under stressful conditions, such as provided by increasingly challenging time-constraints, and particularly in the areas of attention and vigilance. Mindfulness training, as given here, focuses on breathing, letting go one’s thoughts, releasing sensory events that distract. It should be noted that no one is suggesting four days training produces a permanent effect! But it is encouraging to think that benefits might be achieved so quickly. The training also reduced fatigue and anxiety.

Reference: 

Related News

Mindfulness meditation is associated with various positive benefits, one of which is improved attention, but it might not be all good. A new study suggests that it may have negative cognitive consequences.

I've reported before on the idea that the drop in

A review of meditation research reported in January last year concluded that there were insufficient good studies to allow us to say that meditation clearly improves attention and cognition.

Three classroom experiments have found that students who meditated before a psychology lecture scored better on a quiz that followed than students who did not meditate. Mood, relaxation, and class interest were not affected by the meditation training.

Why do we find it so hard to stay on task for long? A recent study uses a new technique to show how the task control network and the default mode network interact (and fight each other for control).

Here’s an encouraging study for all those who think that, because of age or physical damage, they must resign themselves to whatever cognitive impairment or decline they have suffered.

More evidence that even an 8-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on the brain comes from an imaging study. Moreover, the type of meditation makes a difference to how the brain changes.

Meditation may improve multitasking

I’ve always felt that better thinking was associated with my brain working ‘in a higher gear’ — literally working at a faster rhythm.

Following on from research showing that long-term meditation is associated with gray matter increases across the brain, an imaging study involving 27 long-term meditators (average age 52) and 27 controls (matched by age and sex) has revealed pronounced differences in white-matter connectivity be

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health news