Electrophysiological effects of mindfulness meditation in a concentration test

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we evaluate the effects of mindfulness meditation training in electrophysiological signals, recorded during a concentration task. Longitudinal experiments have been limited to the analysis of psychological scores through depression, anxiety, and stress state (DASS) surveys. Here, we present a longitudinal study, confronting DASS survey data with electrocardiography (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG), and electrodermal activity (EDA) signals. Twenty-five university student volunteers (mean age = 26, SD = 7, 9 male) attended a 25-h mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course, over a period of 8 weeks. There were four evaluation periods: pre/peri/post-course and a fourth follow-up, after 2 months. All three recorded biosignals presented congruent results, in line with the expected benefits of regular meditation practice. In average, EDA activity decreased throughout the course, −64.5%, whereas the mean heart rate displayed a small reduction, −5.8%, possibly as a result of an increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity. Prefrontal (AF3) cortical alpha activity, often associated with calm conditions, saw a very significant increase, 148.1%. Also, the number of stressed and anxious subjects showed a significant decrease, −92.9% and −85.7%, respectively. Easy to practice and within everyone’s reach, this mindfulness meditation can be used proactively to prevent or enhance better quality of life. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-773
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Concentration
  • DASS
  • ECG
  • EDA
  • EEG
  • Mindfulness

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