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

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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Tal Dotan Ben-Soussan.

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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.

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Ben-Soussan, T.D., Glicksohn, J. & Berkovich-Ohana, A. Attentional Effort, Mindfulness, and Altered States of Consciousness Experiences Following Quadrato Motor Training. Mindfulness 8, 59–67 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0469-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0469-5

Keywords

  • Movement
  • Mindfulness
  • Consciousness
  • Attention
  • Effort
  • Meditation