Article

Distinct neural activity associated with focused-attention meditation and loving-kindness meditation.

Laboratory of Neuropsychology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 08/2012; 7(8):e40054. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040054
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the dissociable neural effects of ānāpānasati (focused-attention meditation, FAM) and mettā (loving-kindness meditation, LKM) on BOLD signals during cognitive (continuous performance test, CPT) and affective (emotion-processing task, EPT, in which participants viewed affective pictures) processing. Twenty-two male Chinese expert meditators (11 FAM experts, 11 LKM experts) and 22 male Chinese novice meditators (11 FAM novices, 11 LKM novices) had their brain activity monitored by a 3T MRI scanner while performing the cognitive and affective tasks in both meditation and baseline states. We examined the interaction between state (meditation vs. baseline) and expertise (expert vs. novice) separately during LKM and FAM, using a conjunction approach to reveal common regions sensitive to the expert meditative state. Additionally, exclusive masking techniques revealed distinct interactions between state and group during LKM and FAM. Specifically, we demonstrated that the practice of FAM was associated with expertise-related behavioral improvements and neural activation differences in attention task performance. However, the effect of state LKM meditation did not carry over to attention task performance. On the other hand, both FAM and LKM practice appeared to affect the neural responses to affective pictures. For viewing sad faces, the regions activated for FAM practitioners were consistent with attention-related processing; whereas responses of LKM experts to sad pictures were more in line with differentiating emotional contagion from compassion/emotional regulation processes. Our findings provide the first report of distinct neural activity associated with forms of meditation during sustained attention and emotion processing.

1 Follower
 · 
167 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although clinical interest has predominantly focused on mindfulness meditation, interest into the clinical utility of Buddhist-derived loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM) is also growing. This paper follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and provides an evaluative systematic review of LKM and CM intervention studies. Five electronic academic databases were systematically searched to identify all intervention studies assessing changes in the symptom severity of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (text revision fourth edition) Axis I disorders in clinical samples and/or known concomitants thereof in subclinical/healthy samples. The comprehensive database search yielded 342 papers and 20 studies (comprising a total of 1,312 participants) were eligible for inclusion. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was then used to assess study quality. Participants demonstrated significant improvements across five psychopathology-relevant outcome domains: (i) positive and negative affect, (ii) psychological distress, (iii) positive thinking, (iv) interpersonal relations, and (v) empathic accuracy. It is concluded that LKM and CM interventions may have utility for treating a variety of psychopathologies. However, to overcome obstacles to clinical integration, a lessons-learned approach is recommended whereby issues encountered during the (ongoing) operationalization of mindfulness interventions are duly considered. In particular, there is a need to establish accurate working definitions for LKM and CM.
    Mindfulness 12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s12671-014-0368-1
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Affective dysregulation is at the root of many psychopathologies, including stress induced disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. The root of these disorders appears to be an attenuated, top-down cognitive control from the prefrontal cortices over the maladaptive subcortical emotional processing. A form of mental training, long-term meditation practice can trigger meditation-specific neuroplastic changes in the brain regions underlying cognitive control and affective regulation, suggesting that meditation can act as a kind of mental exercise to foster affective regulation and possibly a cost-effective intervention in mood disorders. Increasing research has suggested that the cultivation of awareness and acceptance along with a nonjudgmental attitude via meditation promotes adaptive affective regulation. This review examined the concepts of affective regulation and meditation and discussed behavioral and neural evidence of the potential clinical application of meditation. Lately, there has been a growing trend toward incorporating the "mindfulness" component into existing psychotherapeutic treatment. Promising results have been observed thus far. Future studies may consider exploring the possibility of integrating the element of "compassion" into current psychotherapeutic approaches.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 08/2014; 2014:402718. DOI:10.1155/2014/402718 · 2.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have demonstrated that meditation is associated with neuroplastic changes in the brain regions including amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and temporal-parietal junction. Extended from these previous works, this study examined the functional connectivity of the amygdala in meditation experts during affective processing and observed that these experts had significantly stronger left amygdala (LA) connectivity with the dorsal ACC (dACC), premotor, and primary somatosensory cortices (PSC) while viewing affectively positive stimuli when compared to the novices. The current findings have implications for further understanding of affective neuroplastic changes associated with meditation in the amygdala. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Neuroscience Letters 01/2015; 590. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2015.01.052 · 2.06 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
19 Downloads
Available from
Aug 7, 2014