Author(s): Teper R, Inzlicht M, Teper R, Inzlicht M
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Abstract Previous studies have documented the positive effects of mindfulness meditation on executive control. What has been lacking, however, is an understanding of the mechanism underlying this effect. Some theorists have described mindfulness as embodying two facets-present moment awareness and emotional acceptance. Here, we examine how the effect of meditation practice on executive control manifests in the brain, suggesting that emotional acceptance and performance monitoring play important roles. We investigated the effect of meditation practice on executive control and measured the neural correlates of performance monitoring, specifically, the error-related negativity (ERN), a neurophysiological response that occurs within 100 ms of error commission. Meditators and controls completed a Stroop task, during which we recorded ERN amplitudes with electroencephalography. Meditators showed greater executive control (i.e. fewer errors), a higher ERN and more emotional acceptance than controls. Finally, mediation pathway models further revealed that meditation practice relates to greater executive control and that this effect can be accounted for by heightened emotional acceptance, and to a lesser extent, increased brain-based performance monitoring.
This article was published in Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry