Meditation may help you make fewer mistakes

In a new study, researchers found that if you are forgetful or make mistakes when in a hurry, meditation could help you to become less error-prone.

The research was conducted by a team from Michigan State University.

The team recruited more than 200 participants to test how open-monitoring meditation affected how people detect and respond to errors.

The participants, who had never meditated before, were taken through a 20-minute open-monitoring meditation exercise while the researchers measured brain activity through electroencephalography or EEG.

Then, they completed a computerized distraction test.

The team tested how open-monitoring meditation—or, the meditation that focuses awareness on feelings, thoughts or sensations as they unfold in one’s mind and body—altered brain activity in a way that suggests increased error recognition.

The EEG can measure brain activity at the millisecond level, so the scientists got precise measures of neural activity right after mistakes compared to correct responses.

They found that the strength of this signal is increased in the meditators relative to controls.

The team says that different forms of meditation can have different neurocognitive effects and there is little research about how open-monitoring meditation impacts error recognition.

Some forms of meditation have people focus on a single object, commonly the breath, but open-monitoring meditation is a bit different.

It has people tune inward and pay attention to everything going on in the mind and body. The goal is to sit quietly and pay close attention to where the mind travels without getting too caught up in the scenery.

While the meditators didn’t have immediate improvements to actual task performance, the researchers’ findings offer a promising window into the potential of sustained meditation.

One author of the study is Jeff Lin, MSU psychology doctoral candidate.

The study is published in Brain Sciences.

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