What’s This Research About?
This study examines differences in brain activity between novice and expert meditators using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Their goals were to determine:
1) If meditation causes an increase or decrease in brain activity in regions associated with attention.
2) If experienced meditators have greater attentional control over distractions by showing less activation in brain regions associated with mind wandering and emotional processing.
3) If the number of hours spent practicing meditation could be related to brain function.
TITLE: Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners
PUBLICATION: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
DATE: July, 2007
AUTHORS : J. A. Brefczynski-Lewis, A. Lutz, H. S. Schaefer, D. B. Levinson, and R. J. Davidson
Concentration meditation: a type of meditation where the attention is focused on the breath or a specific object.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): a technique that indirectly measures brain activity via changes in blood flow to different brain regions.
Neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to change its structure and function throughout the lifespan