Even quick meditation aids cognitive skills

August 7, 2018 by Bill Hathaway, Yale University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

College students who listen to a 10-minute meditation tape complete simple cognitive tasks more quickly and accurately than peers who listen to a "control" recording on a generic subject, researchers at Yale University and Swarthmore College report.

The study, published Aug. 6 in the journal Frontiers of Neuroscience, shows even people who have never meditated before can benefit from even a short practice.

"We have known for awhile that people who practice meditation for a few weeks or months tend to perform better on cognitive tests, but now we know you don't have to spend weeks practicing to see improvement," said Yale's Hedy Kober, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and senior author of the study.

The research team headed by Kober and Catherine Norris at Swarthmore randomly divided into two groups. One group listened to a 10-minute recording on meditation prior to performing and the second group listened to a similarly produced tape about sequoia trees.

Both groups were then given simple tasks designed to measure cognitive dexterity. Those who listened to the meditation recording performed significantly better, across two studies.

There was one exception, however. Those who scored highest in measurements of neuroticism—"I worry all the time"—did not benefit from listening to the meditation tape.

"We don't know if longer meditation sessions, or multiple sessions, would improve their cognitive scores, and we look forward to testing that in future studies," Kober said.

Explore further: Meditate regularly for an improved attention span in old age

More information: Catherine J. Norris et al. Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Attention in Novices: Evidence From ERPs and Moderation by Neuroticism, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2018). DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00315

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4 comments

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Anonym518498
2 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2018
Did my taxpayer money go for this nonsense?
TheMuffinMan
5 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2018
How dare colleges teach this crap that makes kids preform mental tasks better using my tax dollars. There are some terrorists in Syria that we could've used that money to bomb.
mqr
5 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2018
Teaching meditation reduces emotions, which yields to live in harmony and spiritual development. But yes, many humans want sadness, destruction, misery, segregation, and so on.... they would prefer to distribute weapons in the community, rather than instructing people in the inner development of calm through meditation. They are all about coercive ''living''.

Currently I work in a company where the manager hates with much intensity. A self-described racist, sexist, etc. And yet he expresses dissapointment for people being low in motivation, so he fires them from the jobs, he screams, he shows up drunk. Of course, workoholic.. Does he need meditation, or a weapon?
s-l-y
not rated yet Aug 08, 2018
Mqr: I like your tone

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