Meditation Can Help You Make Fewer Mistakes, Study Finds


If you’re forgetful or make mistakes when in a rush, new research suggests that meditation may help you become less error-prone.

Researchers at Michigan State University tested how open surveillance meditation altered brain activity in ways that suggested increased recognition of errors.

The study, published in Brain Sciences, tested how open surveillance meditation – or meditation that focuses awareness on feelings, thoughts, or sensations as they unfold in the mind and body. body – altered brain activity in a way that suggests increased recognition of errors.

“People’s interest in meditation and mindfulness exceeds what science can prove in terms of effects and benefits,” said Jeff Lin, MSU psychology doctoral student and study co-author. . “But it’s amazing to me that we’ve been able to see how a guided meditation session can produce changes in brain activity in non-meditators.”

The results suggest that different forms of meditation may have different neurocognitive effects, and Lin explained that there is little research on the impact of open surveillance meditation on the recognition of errors.

“Some forms of meditation allow you to focus on a single object, usually your breath, but open watch meditation is a little different,” Lin said. “It allows you to focus on yourself and pay attention to everything that is going on in your mind and body. The point is to sit quietly and pay close attention to where the mind is. move without being too caught up in the landscape. “

Lin and his MSU co-authors — William Eckerle, Ling Peng, and Jason Moser — recruited more than 200 participants to test how open surveillance meditation affects the way people detect and respond to errors.

The participants, who had never meditated before, were subjected to a 20-minute open surveillance meditation exercise while the researchers measured brain activity by electroencephalography or EEG. Then they performed a computerized distraction test.

“EEG can measure brain activity at the millisecond level, so we got precise measurements of neural activity right after errors versus correct responses,” Lin said. “A certain neural signal occurs about half a second after an error called a positivity error, which is related to the conscious recognition of errors. We have found that the strength of this signal is increased in meditators compared to controls.”

Although meditators did not have immediate improvements in actual task performance, the researchers’ findings offer a promising window into the potential of sustained meditation.

“These results are a strong demonstration of what just 20 minutes of meditation can do to improve the brain’s ability to detect and pay attention to errors,” Moser said. “It makes us more confident in what mindfulness meditation might really be able to do for the performance and daily functioning out there in the moment.”

While meditation and mindfulness have gained widespread interest in recent years, Lin is one of a relatively small group of researchers who take a neuroscientific approach to assess their psychological and performance effects.


About Shirley A. Tamayo

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