Attentional orienting and executive control are affected by different types of meditation practice.

The linked paper here looks at how attentional orienting and executive control are affected by different types of meditation practice.

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Oct 07, 2016
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27710818

Attention orientation refers to the phenomenon described by Posner and Petersen in 1990, who theorised that the orienting of attention could be organized into three distinct stages. They argue that in order for a person to orient to a new location, they first have to disengage, or take attention away from where it is currently focusing. Next, the shifting of one’s attention would occur from one stimuli to another. Finally, attention would be engaged, or focused onto the new target. Executive functions, including executive control, encompass this; executive functions (also known as cognitive control and supervisory attentional system) are a set of cognitive processes – including attentional control, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility, as well as reasoning, problem solving, and planning – that are necessary for the cognitive control of behaviour: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals.

The linked paper here looks at how attentional orienting and executive control are affected by different types of meditation practice, namely focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation. Two experiments are presented. In terms of the first experiment, results indicated that the experts specialising in OM meditation demonstrated greater attentional orienting ability compared with those specialising in FA meditation and the control group. In addition, both expert groups registered improvements in their executive control abilities compared with the control group. In Experiment 2, within which beginners in FA meditation were trained for 3 months, the results showed that the experimental group exhibited significantly enhanced executive control ability.

These studies offer findings to suggest that focused attention meditation skills promote executive control function and open monitoring meditation skills promote both executive control and attentional orienting functions. Fabulous findings for the weekend eh?!

Go to the profile of Heather Mason

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS

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