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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2014 Oct;143(5):1972-9. doi: 10.1037/a0036882. Epub 2014 May 12.

Domain-specific enhancement of metacognitive ability following meditation training.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California.


Contemplative mental practices aim to enable individuals to develop greater awareness of their own cognitive and affective states through repeated examination of first-person experience. Recent cross-sectional studies of long-term meditation practitioners suggest that the subjective reports of such individuals are better calibrated with objective indices; however, the impact of mental training on metacognitive ability has not yet been examined in a randomized controlled investigation. The present study evaluated the impact of a 2-week meditation-training program on introspective accuracy in the domains of perception and memory. Compared with an active control group that elicited no change, we found that a 2-week meditation program significantly enhanced introspective accuracy, quantified by metacognitive judgments of cognition on a trial-by-trial basis, in a memory but not a perception domain. Together, these data suggest that, in at least some domains, the human capacity to introspect is plastic and can be enhanced through training.

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