Make Information Processing In the Brain More Efficient
"Attentional-blink" occurs when two pieces
of information are
presented to a person in very close succession, and the brain doesn't
perceive the second piece of information because it is still processing
the first. Richard Davidson and colleagues attempted to determine if
intensive mental training through meditation could extend the brain's
limits on information processing, reducing "attentional-blink."
The researchers compared two groups of
people--17 expert meditators
and 23 novices--to see if either was better at recognizing two pieces
of information shown in quick succession.
The participants were tested at the
beginning and end of a 3-month
period. For the intervening 3 months, the meditation practitioners
participated in a retreat, during which they meditated for 10-12 hours
a day. The novices participated in a 1-hour meditation class, and were
asked to meditate for 20 minutes a day for the week before each test.
The researchers found that intensive
training did reduce
"attentional-blink." The participants who had gone through the mental
training were more likely to perceive both pieces of information
instead of just the first because the brain used fewer resources to
detect the first piece of information -- leaving more resources
available to detect the second. The researchers also note that this
study supports the idea that brain plasticity, or the ability of the
brain to adapt, exists throughout life.
Heleen A. Slagter, Antoine Lutz, Lawrence L.
Greischar, Andrew D.
Francis, Sander Nieuwenhuis, James M. Davis, and Richard J. Davidson,
"Mental training affects distribution of limited brain resources." PLOS
Biology, June 2007.
We grant you the right to publish this article and other articles from
web site, newsletter or ezine as long as the article is left in
the original state and includes the complete resource box unchanged,
which means it provides credit to the author, author's statement, and
all information about content provider.