[Buddha-l] Meditation training can enhance the stability of our attention through reducing cortical "noise"

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Tue Oct 27 20:36:59 MDT 2009

(My remarks refer to the abstract of the article, and probably to
the article as well--not to S.A. Feite, who posted it. The only
thing I understood was the header of this message.)

Scientific reports would become intelligible to non-scientists
(if they cared to address non-scientists) in terms of their
conclusions or consequences of tests if they also reported, in
emic language, what some of the participants had to say about
their perception of improved stability of attention after the
training. Recently a lot of blather has appeared in various media
asking why science is denigrated or ignored by ordinary folks, or
non-scientists, take your pick. Some participants in these
blather contests have even suggested that scientists need to
learn to write for the lay audience as well as for the peer
audience. There could be some virtue in that idea. 
Failing that, let's hear it from the study participants, one or
two--not all of them, please.

Sign me,


 From The Journal of Neuroscience

Meditation training can enhance the stability of our attention
through reducing cortical "noise"
Several groups collaborate to show that meditation training can
can significantly affect attention and brain function.

The capacity to stabilize the content of attention over time
varies among individuals, and its impairment is a hallmark of
several mental illnesses. Impairments in sustained attention in
patients with attention disorders have been associated with
increased trial-to- trial variability in reaction time and
event-related potential deficits during attention tasks. At
present, it is unclear whether the ability to sustain attention
and its underlying brain circuitry are transformable through
training. Here, we show, with dichotic listening task performance
and electroencephalography, that training attention, as
cultivated by meditation, can improve the ability to sustain
attention. Three months of intensive meditation training reduced
variability in attentional processing of target tones, as
indicated by both enhanced theta-band phase consistency of
oscillatory neural responses over anterior brain areas and
reduced reaction time variability. Furthermore, those individuals
who showed the greatest increase in neural response consistency
showed the largest decrease in behavioral response variability.
Notably, we also observed reduced variability in neural
processing, in particular in low-frequency bands, regardless of
whether the deviant tone was attended or unattended. Focused
attention meditation may thus affect both distracter and target
processing, perhaps by enhancing entrainment of neuronal
oscillations to sensory input rhythms, a mechanism important for
controlling the content of attention. These novel findings
highlight the mechanisms underlying focused attention meditation
and support the notion that mental training can significantly
affect attention and brain function.

The Journal of Neuroscience, October 21, 2009,

_Mental Training Enhances Attentional Stability: Neural and
Behavioral Evidence_

Antoine Lutz,1 Heleen A. Slagter,1,3 Nancy B. Rawlings,2 Andrew
Francis,1 Lawrence L. Greischar,1 and Richard J. Davidson1

1Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, 2University
Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX,
United Kingdom, and 3Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Department of
Psychology, University of Amsterdam, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The

Lutz A, Slagter HA, Rawling, BN., Francis, DA., Greischar LL,
Davidson RJ, (2009) Mental training enhances stability of
attention by reducing cortical noise (J. of Neuroscience).
buddha-l mailing list
buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 9.0.698 / Virus Database: 270.14.34/2462 - Release Date:
10/27/09 01:38:00

More information about the buddha-l mailing list