Just 8 Weeks Of Meditation Can Cause Enduring Changes In The Brain [View all]
Neuroscientists have discovered that an 8-week meditation training program can leave a lasting impression on the human brain.
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University, and several other research centers found that the meditation training produced enduring changes in how the brain processed emotional information. The results of their study were published this month in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
“The two different types of meditation training our study participants completed yielded some differences in the response of the amygdala — a part of the brain known for decades to be important for emotion — to images with emotional content,” Gaelle Desbordes, a corresponding author of the report, explained. “This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state.”
In the study, healthy adults with no experience meditating were enrolled in either mindful attention training, cognitively-based compassion training or a health discussion group. Mindful attention meditation cultivates awareness of one’s breathing and one’s own state of mind, while compassion meditation focuses on cultivating higher levels of empathy. The health discussion group was used as a control. The training occurred for 2 hours each week, or 16 hours total.