Study: Meditation Improves Cognitive Skills in Four Days
If you are still undecided whether to sign up for that meditation class, perhaps this piece of research news would do the trick.
A study published on the journal Consciousness and Cognition found that 20 minutes of meditation each day can improve cognitive skills in as short as four days.
The research, which involved 63 students randomly split into two groups, trained one group on mindfulness meditation while the other group listened to J.R.R. Tolkein's fantasy novel, The Hobbit. Before and after the experiment, students from both groups were assessed on their mood and cognitive functions, including memory, concentration and visual attention.
A total of 49 students completed the experiment. All of them reported an improvement in mood, but only students in the meditation group fared a noticeable improvement in cognitive abilities. They scored consistently higher averages than those in the listening group on all tests.
"Simply stated, the profound improvements that we found after just four days of meditation training — are really surprising," said Fadel Zeidan, a post-doctoral researcher at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and a former doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where the research was conducted. "It goes to show that the mind is, in fact, easily changeable and highly influenced, especially by meditation."
In one particular test called the "computer adaptive n-back task," the meditation group did as much as ten times better than the control group. This test required participants to remember whether a stimulus had been shown two steps earlier in a sequence. Every correct answer will speed up the next stimulus, increasing the difficulty of the test. The group briefly trained in meditation scored an average of ten consecutive correct answers compared to the listening group`s one.
"The meditation group did especially better on all the cognitive tests that were timed," Zeidan noted. "In tasks where participants had to process information under time constraints causing stress, the group briefly trained in mindfulness performed significantly better."Continued on the next page