Tag Archives: attention

Meditation and ageing: Cognitive improvements in older adults

Yet another year is coming to an end and our time seems to be ticking away. Anyone feeling a bit older just by the thought of it? If so, do not despair, at least not if you fancy a bit of meditation. We now have the science: Injecting just a few minutes of meditation into our lives improves cognitive abilities – in people 55 to 75 years old! A range… Read More »

Mindfulness in Schools – Programmes show promise

Figure 6: Bubble plot of the 19 controlled effects sizes against Intensity of mindfulness training and regression line. R2 (adjusted) = 0.52. [Zenner et al 2014] Studies show promise for improving cognitive performance, stress, coping, and resilience. With the ever-increasing interest in mindfulness-based programmes and the growing recognition that a more mindful approach to life may yield benefits in many life domains – if not in all of them – it… Read More »

The Liverpool Mindfulness Model

In my recent review paper on attentional control mechanisms in mindfulness meditation I also presented our Liverpool Mindfulness Model. The main purpose of this model is to serve as a structuring aid for our own meditation research.  It is thus more of an outline of the different aspects that should be considered when studying mindfulness practice – or, if you want, even a wish list of all the things we… Read More »

Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation

Published a few days ago: In this focused review article I consider three main points: First, I present the general framework or skeleton (the Liverpool Mindfulness Model) my group uses as guidance for our meditation/mindfulness work . Second, I present a model that summarises the basic principles of a simple mindful breathing meditation, considering the levels of subjective/phenomenological experience of the meditator during the practice, the cognitive processes we assume… Read More »

Cognition and Emotion in Meditation – Part 2

In the previous post I discussed evidence for the involvement of emotional processes even when performing a purely cognitive task. A further study investigated which brain areas are involved when a task similar to the Stroop task that was a focus in a previous post, is carried out, while the emotional state of the participant is challenged at the same time. As before, central to the task was the ability… Read More »

Cognition and Emotion in Meditation

Research has convincingly shown the positive effects of mindfulness meditation practice on attentional mechanisms. I discussed some of these findings in previous blogs, for instance the evidence that mindfulness practice is linked to improved attentional control, which is also evidenced by neural markers that show improved selective attention as well as improved conflict resolution mechanisms. While the refinement of attention skills certainly is a central aspect of many forms of… Read More »

Loving Kindness Meditation – Reflections for the festive season

The majority of current research into meditation so far focused on mindfulness-based practices and similar methods. Recently, this has shifted a bit and we see a growing interest in meditation practices aimed at improving love and compassion. First studies, investigating some of the neural underpinnings do emerge, such as the 2012 study by Lee and co-workers. In 2008 Barbara Fredrickson, one of the leading figures of Positive Psychology, published a… Read More »

Meditation and creativity: some first evidence

Over the last one and a half years or so, I was repeatedly asked whether there would be any current empirical evidence that meditation practice would improve creativity. Also, when I recently discussed with Lama Jigme Rinpoche possible future directions for our research, he pointed out that studying the link between meditation and creativity would be important. So, certainly this topic has been on my radar for a while. It is… Read More »

The Science of Meditation: impromptu talk in Hamburg

Hamburg – 16 April 2012: When visiting the Buddhist Centre in Hamburg as part of a Seminar of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, I was asked to give an impromptu talk on the Science of Meditation. Talking about the historical developments of meditation research as well as current findings, from improvements of attention to boosts to the immune system, I was amazed to see the level of interest and alertness at… Read More »

Mindfulness and Cognitive Control

An important ability in life is the ability to act automatically. Once we have learned how to ride a bycicle it will work without much – if any – conscious effort or control being required. This is certainly a good thing. However, sometimes we function on autopilot when it might be less useful or we may respond in an automated fashion, without being quite aware that we are responding, not… Read More »