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Behav Brain Res. 2019 Jan 1;356:208-220. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.08.023. Epub 2018 Aug 25.

Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators.

Author information

1
New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States; Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors, 1 Riverside Circle, Suite 104G, Roanoke, VA 24016, United States. Electronic address: jbasso@vt.edu.
2
New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States.
3
New York University, Center for Neural Science, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, United States. Electronic address: ws21@nyu.edu.

Abstract

Meditation is an ancient practice that cultivates a calm yet focused mind; however, little is known about how short, practical meditation practices affect cognitive functioning in meditation-naïve populations. To address this question, we randomized subjects (ages of 18-45) who were non-experienced meditators into either a 13-min daily guided meditation session or a 13-min daily podcast listening session (control group) for a total duration of 8 weeks. We examined the effects of the daily meditation practice relative to podcast listening on mood, prefrontal and hippocampal functioning, baseline cortisol levels, and emotional regulation using the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Compared to our control group, we found that 8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores on the TSST. Furthermore, we report that meditation-induced changes in emotional regulation are more strongly linked to improved affective state than improved cognition. This study not only suggests a lower limit for the duration of brief daily meditation needed to see significant benefits in non-experienced meditators, but suggests that even relatively short daily meditation practice can have similar behavioral effects as longer duration and higher-intensity mediation practices.

KEYWORDS:

Breathing; Cognition; Consciousness; Executive function; Mindfulness; Stress

PMID:
30153464
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2018.08.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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