What is it about?

This study had mindfulness meditators perform a "Go Nogo" task, which required them to press a button in response to one rapidly presented stimuli, but then try to inhibit the habit to press the button in response to another stimuli. We used electroencephalography to scan their brains during this task. Compared to non-meditators, we found that the meditators activated their frontal (attention related) brain regions more strongly, as well as visual processing regions.

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Why is it important?

Our results add to an existing body of literature that demonstrates attention related changes associated with mindfulness meditation. Our results also give an indication that the improved attention function might be the result of increased activation in frontal brain regions (responsible for directing the focus of attention), as well as lower level changes in brain regions related to visual processing, which might be activated prior to the predictable visual stimuli in order to anticipate having to process the visual stimuli.


The potential anticipation of visual stimuli indicated by the activation of visual processing regions just prior to the visual information reaching those brain regions is a unique finding in mindfulness research. This finding suggests that mindfulness might improve attention function in a range of different ways, by altering brain activity to better suit whatever the task at hand might be.

Neil Bailey

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Mindfulness meditators show altered distributions of early and late neural activity markers of attention in a response inhibition task, PLoS ONE, August 2019, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203096.
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