Meditating Just Once Can Make You Less Prone to Error
Research from Michigan State University has found that if you are forgetful or often make mistakes in a hurry, meditation can help you become less error prone.
Open monitoring meditation is a form of meditation that focuses on awareness of your feelings, thoughts, and/or sensations in your mind and body. There are many different forms of meditation that can have different neurocognitive benefits, but this study specifically used open monitoring meditation.
Learn more about the study below:
“‘People’s interest in meditation and mindfulness is outpacing what science can prove in terms of effects and benefits,’ said Jeff Lin, MSU psychology doctoral candidate and study co-author. ‘But it’s amazing to me that we were able to see how one session of a guided meditation can produce changes to brain activity in non-meditators.’
The findings suggest that different forms of meditation can have different neurocognitive effects and Lin explained that there is little research about how open monitoring meditation impacts error recognition.
“Some forms of meditation have you focus on a single object, commonly your breath, but open monitoring meditation is a bit different,” Lin said. “It has you tune inward and pay attention to everything going on in your mind and body. The goal is to sit quietly and pay close attention to where the mind travels without getting too caught up in the scenery.”
Lin and his MSU co-authors — William Eckerle, Ling Peng and Jason Moser — recruited more than 200 participants to test how open monitoring meditation affected how people detect and respond to errors.
The participants, who had never meditated before, were taken through a 20-minute open monitoring meditation exercise while the researchers measured brain activity through electroencephalography, or EEG. Then, they completed a computerized distraction test.
“The EEG can measure brain activity at the millisecond level, so we got precise measures of neural activity right after mistakes compared to correct responses,” Lin said. “A certain neural signal occurs about half a second after an error called the error positivity, which is linked to conscious error recognition. We found that the strength of this signal is increased in the meditators relative to controls.”
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