Abstract 19.01.2018-1

Mona Irrmischer (VU)

FA Meditation reduces complex amplitude fluctuations of neuronal oscillations
Our focus of attention naturally fluctuates even when we desire to focus on a single object. Focused attention (FA) meditation is associated with a greater control of this process. We hypothesize that neuronal mechanisms balance attention at a point of instability between order and disorder, characteristic of so-called critical systems, to allow for transient focus as well as swift change.  In contrast, successfully focusing attention may be associated with a more homogeneous brain state.

To test this, we applied analytical tools from criticality theory to EEG recordings of two independent samples of experienced meditators and meditation naïve participants. In meditators, we show that relative to eyes-closed rest, FA meditation using the sensation of breathing as primary object strongly suppressed long-range temporal correlations (LRTC) of neuronal oscillations with remarkable consistency across frequency bands and scalp locations. This shift was not observed in the control group. Further, I will show some implications of this mechanism in relation to mind-wandering dynamics, attention and mood.