Mindfulness

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Attentional Effort, Mindfulness, and Altered States of Consciousness Experiences Following Quadrato Motor Training

  • Tal Dotan Ben-Soussan
  • Joseph Glicksohn
  • Aviva Berkovich-Ohana
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

The scientific study of movement-related contemplative practices has proceeded without much attention to the range of psychological and phenomenological changes thought to occur during the practice. Quadrato Motor Training (QMT) is a specifically structured walking meditation, recently found to improve creativity and reflectivity, as well as neuroplasticity. This paper presents first-person reports related to QMT-induced experiences, derived from both practitioners of breathing meditation (BM) who practiced the QMT for 1 week (n = 15) compared to 4 weeks of daily training (n = 14) and control non-BM practitioners who practiced the QMT for 4 weeks of daily training (n = 14). Following factor analysis, the reported experiences were classified into three categories: Attentional Effort, Mindfulness, and Altered States of Consciousness (ASC). Our analysis revealed significant group differences, with increased ASC and attentional effort experiences reported by the groups that practiced the QMT for 4 weeks, but not in the group that practiced it for only 1 day. We further build on the previous QMT-induced electrophysiological and cognitive changes and the meditation literature to posit the possible underlying mechanisms of QMT-induced ASC experiences, in order to suggest a novel interpretation of QMT that calls attention to its structural similarities with meditation. By providing and contextualizing these reports of QMT-induced experiences, scientists, clinicians, and meditators can gain a more informed view of the range of experiences that can be elicited by whole-body contemplative practices.

Keywords

Movement Mindfulness Consciousness Attention Effort Meditation 

Notes

This study was funded by grant CUP J87I10000960008 from the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, as part of the Italy-Israel R&D Cooperation Program.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the current study were approved and in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional ethical committee of Bar-Ilan University.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tal Dotan Ben-Soussan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joseph Glicksohn
    • 1
    • 3
  • Aviva Berkovich-Ohana
    • 4
  1. 1.The Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research CenterBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Research Institute for Neuroscience Education and DidacticsPatrizio Paoletti FoundationSanta Maria degli Angeli, AssisiItaly
  3. 3.Department of CriminologyBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  4. 4.The Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning DisabilitiesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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