Original Article

Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 581-594

First online:

Selective Attentional Bias Towards Pain-Related Threat in Fibromyalgia: Preliminary Evidence for Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training

  • David R. VagoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Email author 
  • , Yoshio NakamuraAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Utah Center for Exploring Mind–Body Interactions (UCEMBI), Pain Research Center, University of Utah

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The current study investigated the effects of an 8-week mindfulness-based meditation training (MMT) intervention on attentional bias, engagement and disengagement of pain-related threat in fibromyalgia patients as compared to an age-matched control group. A well validated dot-probe task was used to explore early versus later stages of attentional processing through the use of two stimulus exposure durations (100, 500 ms) of pain-related threat words. The enduring effects of MMT were assessed 6-months after completion of MMT. Preliminary results suggest that MMT reduces avoidance of pain-related threat at early levels of processing, and facilitates disengagement from threat at later stages of processing. Furthermore, it appears that effects of MMT on early attentional threat processing do not remain stable after long-term follow-up.


Attentional bias Avoidance Fibromyalgia Meditation Mindfulness