Tag Archives: brain networks

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 »

Meditation and Neuroplasticity: Five key articles

Meditation not only changes our mind but also our brain – this is what more and more neuroscientific research suggests. Neuroplasticity – the change of brain structures as a result of experience – is considered to be one of the most important discoveries of neuroscience. Over the last 10 years evidence has been growing that not only the acquisition of navigational knowledge by London Taxi drivers (see video) or learning… 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 »

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 changes brain connectivity

– a recent study revealed underlying mechanisms of white matter change Over the last few years, research has established that meditation practice influences various aspects of our cognitive and emotional life in positive ways. It is exciting to see that such improvements also seem to be reflected in changes to the brain structure. Indeed, several studies revealed specific differences between meditators and non-meditators regarding cortical thickness, grey matter and white matter… Read More »

Published today: regular brief meditation changes brain activity

Today a first article from our research project into the effects of mindfulness meditation practice on attentional functions was published in the open access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Here the link to the article: Regular, brief mindfulness meditation practice improves electrophysiological markers of attentional control. Next week I will explain the findings of this study within its wider context 🙂

Meditation practice is associated with reduced mind-wandering

A forthcoming publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports a brain imaging study that shows reduced brain activity during meditation in those brain areas that are typically quite active during day-dreaming or mind-wandering. A research group led by Judson Brewer at the Yale School of Medicine c [update: J. Brewer is now Director of Research at the UMASS Center for Mindfulness] compared experienced meditators with meditation-naïve participants… Read More »

Buddhists make rational economic decisions

A recent study into human decision-making revealed that experienced Buddhist meditators act more rationally in social situations that are commonly experienced as unfair. The study, carried out by researchers in the US and Canada, compared the decisions of experienced Buddhist meditators with that of control participants during the so-called Ultimatum Game. In a (simulated) two-person exchange the participants were offered a split of a certain amount of money ($20). If… Read More »