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Front Psychol. 2012 Apr 18;3:116. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116. eCollection 2012.

Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking.

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  • 1Institute for Psychological Research and Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University Leiden, Netherlands.


The practice of meditation has seen a tremendous increase in the western world since the 60s. Scientific interest in meditation has also significantly grown in the past years; however, so far, it has neglected the idea that different type of meditations may drive specific cognitive-control states. In this study we investigate the possible impact of meditation based on focused-attention (FA) and meditation based on open-monitoring (OM) on creativity tasks tapping into convergent and divergent thinking. We show that FA meditation and OM meditation exert specific effect on creativity. First, OM meditation induces a control state that promotes divergent thinking, a style of thinking that allows many new ideas of being generated. Second, FA meditation does not sustain convergent thinking, the process of generating one possible solution to a particular problem. We suggest that the enhancement of positive mood induced by meditating has boosted the effect in the first case and counteracted in the second case.


convergent thinking; creativity; divergent thinking; focused-attention; meditation; open-monitoring

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