Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation on the emotional reaction to affective pictures assessed by electrodermal activity

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Abstract

Objective: In recent years the psychophysiological benefits of Mindfulness meditation on emotional processing have drawn great interest in scientific research. Currently, the effects of this meditation practice on stress, anxiety and well-being have been mostly evaluated using self-reporting questionnaires, which lead to a quite subjective assessment. This study assesses the effect of Mindfulness practice on the reaction to emotionally charged visual stimuli through Electrodermal Activity (EDA) data. Methods: Twenty-five healthy volunteers, without any previous experience of meditation techniques completed a 12-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. EDA and psychological measures were collected longitudinally in 4 scheduled sessions. Statistical analysis was performed to find changes in the most relevant EDA parameters throughout the 4 sessions of data collection. Results: We found an increase in response latency, and a decrease in amplitude, area, number of specific responses, and skin conductance level along Mindfulness training. Both outcomes might suggest a reduction in the reactivity to the presented stimuli and an improvement in the emotional well-being of the practitioners. Furthermore, this study showed preliminary evidence that women improve more their attitude towards stressful stimuli than man, after the mindfulness practice. The statistical analysis also showed a correlation between the main EDA parameters and the scores reported by each participant in the depression, anxiety, and stress scale (DASS) questionnaire. Conclusion and Significance: This study contributed to a more objective evaluation of the physiological changes observed during Mindfulness practice, and so to understand the underlying mechanisms that explain the benefits of meditation training.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105314
Number of pages10
JournalBiomedical Signal Processing and Control
Volume86
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Electrodermal activity
  • Emotional reactions
  • IAPS
  • MBSR
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Visual affective stimuli

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