Long-term Meditation and Attentional Processing: Two Experiments Using the Attentional Blink

Alexander Short (2010). Long-term Meditation and Attentional Processing: Two Experiments Using the Attentional Blink Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Alexander Short
Thesis Title Long-term Meditation and Attentional Processing: Two Experiments Using the Attentional Blink
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor John McLean
Total pages 98
Abstract/Summary Previous research suggests that people trained in Open Monitoring (OM) meditation, a form of mental training that promotes a less object-focused state of attention, have a reduced attentional blink (AB). Research has also revealed that the AB can be reduced by adopting a less object-focused state of attention immediately prior to the task. The current research compared the AB task performance of a group of meditators with long-term experience in OM meditation with a group of age-matched meditation-naïve controls across two studies. Study 1 measured participants' AB task performance across three within-subjects conditions: at baseline, when given instructions to focus maximally on the digits (focused strategy), and when given instructions to adopt a less object-focused state of attention (unfocused strategy). Results on the AB task suggest that experienced meditators had an overall superior level of performance that was not due to, or influenced by, the conscious adoption of strategy. Nonmeditators however were influenced by the strategies, showing peak performance in the unfocused condition, where their AB was equivalent to that of meditators. In a follow-up to Study 1, Study 2 examined the AB task performance of the same subject's immediately following a short guided OM meditation session. Results suggest that the state of attention induced by a short meditation session does not influence performance on the AB task for either group. The present research extends the growing body of evidence that people with long-term experience in OM meditation display measurably different attentional performance to those without such training.

 
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Created: Mon, 04 Apr 2011, 16:00:32 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology