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Trends Cogn Sci. 2008 Apr;12(4):163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.01.005. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation.

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  • 1Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705, USA. <>


Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes developed for various ends, including the cultivation of well-being and emotional balance. Among these various practices, there are two styles that are commonly studied. One style, focused attention meditation, entails the voluntary focusing of attention on a chosen object. The other style, open monitoring meditation, involves nonreactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment. The potential regulatory functions of these practices on attention and emotion processes could have a long-term impact on the brain and behavior.

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