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Emotion. 2006 Aug;6(3):392-405.

Awareness of subtle emotional feelings: a comparison of long-term meditators and nonmeditators.

Author information

  • 1Behavioral and Social Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Erratum in

  • Emotion. 2007 Nov;7(4):754.


The authors explored whether meditation training to enhance emotional awareness improves discrimination of subtle emotional feelings hypothesized to guide decision-making. Long-term meditators and nonmeditators were compared on measures of self-reported valence and arousal, skin conductance response (SCR), and facial electromyography (EMG) to masked and nonmasked emotional pictures, and on measures of heartbeat detection and self-reported emotional awareness. Groups responded similarly to nonmasked pictures. In the masked condition, only controls showed discrimination in valence self-reports. However, meditators reported greater emotional clarity than controls, and meditators with higher clarity had reduced arousal and improved valence discrimination in the masked condition. These findings provide qualified support for the somatic marker hypothesis and suggest that meditation may influence how emotionally ambiguous information is processed, regulated, and represented in conscious awareness.

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