Impact of short-term meditation and expectation on executive brain functions

Prätzlich, Martin and Kossowsky, Joe and Gaab, Jens and Krummenacher, Peter. (2016) Impact of short-term meditation and expectation on executive brain functions. Behavioural Brain Research, 297. pp. 268-276.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/52169/

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Meditation improves executive functions such as attention and working memory processes. However, it remains unclear to what extent contextual effects contribute to these improvements, since the role of meditation-associated expectations has not been investigated so far. In a randomized, single-blind, deceptive, between-subject design we compared the impact of short-term meditation (MG) on executive functioning with an expectation (ECG) and a passive control group (CG) as well as the effect of positive and negative outcome expectations. Fifty-nine healthy meditation-naïve volunteers participated on three consecutive days (20 min/session). Five groups were examined: 2 MGs, 2 ECGs and 1 CG. While one MG and one ECG were given positive suggestions concerning the effect of meditation on attention, the other two groups were given negative suggestions. MGs practised a focused attention meditation technique; ECGs were told that they were practising meditation but were given instructions for a sham meditation. CG participants sat in silence with their eyes closed. Interference control (Stroop task), selective sustained attention (d2 task), figural and verbal fluency measures of executive functions were assessed. Results indicate that suggestions have a substantial impact on interference control and verbal fluency, with positive suggestions leading to an increase in performance, whereas negative suggestions impeded improvement. This proof of concept study demonstrates the importance of the implementation of a credible ECG to elucidate context effects in meditation processes. It also indicates that suggestions can modulate the small effect of meditation on verbal fluency.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Health & Intervention > Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie (Gaab)
UniBasel Contributors:Gaab, Jens and Kossowsky, Joe and Krummenacher, Peter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:03 Nov 2017 08:16
Deposited On:30 Oct 2017 09:26

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