ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (2): 284-293.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00284

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The effects of meditation on attention

HE Qi, WANG Haiying()   

  1. School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2019-04-09 Online:2020-02-15 Published:2019-12-25
  • Contact: Haiying WANG


Regulation of attention is a commonality across the many divergent meditation methods, with attention being the main mechanism of meditation. Recent research has found that meditation can improve sustained attention, executive attention and selective attentional allocation. Cognitive neuroscientific research findings showed that meditation enabled more efficient use of attentional resources, and long-term meditators showed higher mismatch negativity amplitude and lower β power. Meditation enhanced the functional connection of the central executive network and strengthened the activation in the salience network. Focused attention meditation weakened activation of the default-mode network. In addition, the positive effects of meditation on attention were applicable to clinical groups with attention-related disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder patients and formerly depressed patients, as well as health groups of varying ages, such as children and older adults. Further follow-up studies need to be conducted to determine the lasting effects of meditation, as well as studies exploring the interaction between attention and emotion in meditation. Moreover, it is important to design more targeted meditation programs according to the characteristics of the group.

Key words: meditation, attention, focus attention, open monitoring, mindfulness

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