, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 10–16 | Cite as

Prior Meditation Practice Modulates Performance and Strategy Use in Convergent- and Divergent-Thinking Problems

  • Lorenza S. ColzatoEmail author
  • Ayca Szapora
  • Dominique Lippelt
  • Bernhard Hommel


Scientific interest in meditation has significantly grown in the past years; however, so far, science has neglected the idea that different types of meditations may drive specific cognitive-control states. It has been shown that focused-attention (FA) and open-monitoring (OM) meditation exert specific effect on creativity; OM meditation induces a control state that promotes divergent thinking, a style of thinking that allows many new ideas to be generated, while FA meditation tends to support convergent thinking, the process of generating one possible solution to a particular problem. In the present study, by using creativity tasks tapping into convergent (compound Remote Associates Task; cRAT) and divergent thinking (Alternate Uses Task; AUT), we investigated whether this effect was modulated by prior meditation experience, by comparing a group of practitioners (n = 20) and a group of novices (n = 20). The enhancing effect of OM meditation on divergent thinking was found to be robust irrespective of prior experience. However, while solving convergent-thinking problems, practitioners used an insight strategy, as opposed to an analytical approach, significantly more often than the novices.


Open monitoring Focused attention Creativity Convergent thinking Divergent thinking 



The research of L.S. Colzato is supported by a Vidi grant (#452-12-001) of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenza S. Colzato
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ayca Szapora
    • 1
  • Dominique Lippelt
    • 1
  • Bernhard Hommel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Psychological Research & Leiden Institute for Brain and CognitionLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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