Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence of Enhanced Performance Monitoring in Meditators
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Performance monitoring—the ability to monitor ongoing performance to detect and correct errors—is a core component of cognitive control. Impairments in performance monitoring have been associated with several psychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and substance use disorder. Recent research indicates that the practice of meditation, as a mental training technique, may improve cognitive control. However, if and to what extent regular long-term meditation practice may enhance performance monitoring is currently unknown. The present study examined effects of meditation practice on behavioral and electrophysiological indices of performance monitoring. A group of meditators and an experience-matched active control group (non-meditator athletes) performed an Eriksen-Flanker task while their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). Behaviorally, meditators made significantly fewer errors than controls on incongruent trials. EEG analyses revealed a general increase in the amplitude of two brain potentials associated with performance monitoring—the error negativity (Ne) or error-related negativity (ERN) and correct-related negativity (CRN)—in meditators compared to controls. These findings, which are indicative of enhanced performance monitoring in meditators, corroborate the idea that meditation could be a recommendable practice to train and improve cognitive control, specifically performance monitoring.
KeywordsMeditation Performance monitoring Error-related negativity Cognitive control EEG
CA designed and executed the study, performed the data analyses, and wrote the paper. CM collaborated with the programming and data analyses. VL collaborated with the design and writing of the study. HS collaborated with the design and writing of the study. IF collaborated with the design and writing of the study. DC collaborated with the design and writing of the study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and animal rights
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
This work was supported by the National Committee of Science and Technology of Chile (CONICYT) National PhD Grant [21140175 to CI.A.], National Fund for Scientific and Technologic Development (FONDECYT) Grant [1130758 to V.L. and D.C], and the Fund for Innovation and Competitiveness (FIC) of the Chilean Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, through the Millennium Scientific Initiative, Grant [IS 130005—MIDAP to D.C.].
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