Cross-sectional and longitudinal study of effects of transcendental meditation practice on interhemispheric frontal asymmetry and frontal coherence. International Journal of Neuroscience, 116, 1519-1538

Brain Consciousness and Cognition Lab, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa 52557, USA.
International Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 1.52). 01/2007; 116(12):1519-38. DOI: 10.1080/00207450600575482
Source: PubMed


Two studies investigated frontal alpha lateral asymmetry and frontal interhemispheric coherence during eyes-closed rest, Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice, and computerized reaction-time tasks. In the first study, frontal coherence and lateralized asymmetry were higher in 13 TM subjects than in 12 controls. In the second study (N = 14), a one-year longitudinal study, lateral asymmetry did not change in any condition. In contrast, frontal coherence increased linearly during computer tasks and eyes-closed rest, and as a step-function during TM practice--rising to a high level after 2-months TM practice. Coherence was more sensitive than lateral asymmetry to effects of TM practice on brain functioning.

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Available from: Frederick Travis, Aug 05, 2015
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    • "EEG coherence has also been examined as an index of functional connectivity among different cortical areas in meditation studies. Increased alpha-theta range coherence has been reported both intra- and inter-hemispherically during meditation [9,15] and also as a meditation ability trait [16,17]. Although coherence does provide information on brain integration, it is limited in that it does not separate the effects of amplitude and phase in the interrelations between two signals and is thus only an indirect measure of phase locking. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background This study investigates measures of mindfulness meditation (MM) as a mental practice, in which a resting but alert state of mind is maintained. A population of older people with high stress level participated in this study, while electroencephalographic (EEG) and respiration signals were recorded during a MM intervention. The physiological signals during meditation and control conditions were analyzed with signal processing. Methods EEG and respiration data were collected and analyzed on 34 novice meditators after a 6-week meditation intervention. Collected data were analyzed with spectral analysis, phase analysis and classification to evaluate an objective marker for meditation. Results Different frequency bands showed differences in meditation and control conditions. Furthermore, we established a classifier using EEG and respiration signals with a higher accuracy (85%) at discriminating between meditation and control conditions than a classifier using the EEG signal only (78%). Conclusion Support vector machine (SVM) classifier with EEG and respiration feature vector is a viable objective marker for meditation ability. This classifier should be able to quantify different levels of meditation depth and meditation experience in future studies.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
    • "1.1. EEG alpha asymmetry, motivation and affect: trait and state components A neurophysiologic phenotype which is frequently examined in relation to depression, mindfulness and meditation, is anterior brain asymmetry, derived through the alpha band in resting-state electroencephalogram (Barnhofer et al., 2007, 2010; Davidson et al., 2003; Keune et al., 2011a; Moyer et al., 2011; Travis and Arenander, 2006). The alpha band and its sub-bands have been ascribed several functional roles as neurophysiologic indices (Jaworska et al., 2011; Klimesch, 1999; Klimesch et al., 2007; Lüchinger et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Meditation-based interventions reduce the relapse risk in recurrently depressed patients. Randomized trials utilizing neurophysiologic outcome measures, however, have yielded inconsistent results with regard to a prophylactic effect. Although frontal brain asymmetry, assessed through electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha activity (8-13Hz), is indicative of approach vs. withdrawal-related response dispositions and represents a vulnerability marker of depression, clinical trials have provided mixed results as to whether meditation has beneficial effects on alpha asymmetry. Inconsistencies might have arisen since such trials relied on resting-state recordings, instead of active paradigms under challenge, as suggested by contemporary notions of alpha asymmetry. We examined two groups of remitted, recurrently depressed females. In a "mindfulness support group", EEG was recorded during neutral rest, and rest following a negative mood induction. Subsequently, participants received initial meditation instructions. EEG was then obtained during an active period of guided mindfulness meditation and rest following the active period. In a "rumination challenge group", EEG was obtained during the same resting conditions, whereas in the active period, initial meditation instructions were followed by a rumination challenge. A significant shift in mid-frontal asymmetry, yielding a pattern indicative of approach motivation, was observed in the mindfulness support group, specifically during the meditation period. This indicates that mindfulness meditation may have a transient beneficial effect, which enables patients to take an approach-related motivational stance, particularly under circumstances of risk.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Biological psychology
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    • "This study relied solely on self - report of all constructs . Previous ( non - MBSR ) studies have attempted to examine the effects of short ( 10 minutes ) mindfulness - type interventions on affective reactions to dynamic stimuli ( Erisman & Roemer , 2010 ) , while others have used EEG to examine the relationship between frontal coherence and outcomes such as moral reasoning , emotional stability , inner orientation , and state and trait anxiety ( Travis & Arenander , 2006 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) improves psychological functioning in multiple domains. However, to date, no studies have examined the effects of MBSR on moral reasoning and decision making. This single group design study examined the effect of MBSR on moral reasoning and ethical decision making, mindfulness, emotion, and well-being. Additionally, we investigated whether there was an association between the amount of meditation practice during MBSR and changes in moral reasoning and ethical decision making, emotions, mindfulness, and well-being. Results indicated that MBSR was associated with improvements in mindful attention, emotion and well-being. Further, amount of meditation practice was associated with greater improvement in mindful attention. Two-month follow-up results showed that, MBSR resulted in improvements in moral reasoning and ethical decision making, mindful attention, emotion, and well-being. This study provides preliminary evidence that MBSR may potentially facilitate moral reasoning and decision making in adults.
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