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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2007 Oct 23;104(43):17152-6.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.0707678104. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Short-term Meditation Training Improves Attention and Self-Regulation

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Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Short-term Meditation Training Improves Attention and Self-Regulation

Yi-Yuan Tang et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that months to years of intensive and systematic meditation training can improve attention. However, the lengthy training required has made it difficult to use random assignment of participants to conditions to confirm these findings. This article shows that a group randomly assigned to 5 days of meditation practice with the integrative body-mind training method shows significantly better attention and control of stress than a similarly chosen control group given relaxation training. The training method comes from traditional Chinese medicine and incorporates aspects of other meditation and mindfulness training. Compared with the control group, the experimental group of 40 undergraduate Chinese students given 5 days of 20-min integrative training showed greater improvement in conflict scores on the Attention Network Test, lower anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue, and higher vigor on the Profile of Mood States scale, a significant decrease in stress-related cortisol, and an increase in immunoreactivity. These results provide a convenient method for studying the influence of meditation training by using experimental and control methods similar to those used to test drugs or other interventions.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Performance of the ANT after 5 days of IBMT or control. Error bars indicate 1 SD. Vertical axis indicates the difference in mean reaction time between the congruent and incongruent flankers. The higher scores show less efficient resolution of conflict.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Comparison of six scales of the POMS before and after training for the experimental group. Blue bar, five negative moods and one positive mood pretraining; red bar, five negative moods posttraining; green bar, one positive mood posttraining. Significance was found in POMS scales of anger–hostility (A), depression–dejection (D), fatigue–inertia (F), tension–anxiety (T), and vigor–activity (V) posttraining in the experimental group. No significant difference was found in POMS scale C (confusion–bewilderment) posttraining. ∗∗, Paverage < 0.01. Error bars indicate 1 SD.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Physiological changes before and after stress. (A) Comparison of cortisol concentration between the experimental group (red bars) and control group (gray bars) in three different stages after 5 days of training. ∗, P < 0.05; ∗∗, P < 0.01. Error bars indicate 1 SEM. More cortisol secretion indicates higher levels of stress. (B) Comparison of sIgA concentration between experimental group (red bars) and control group (blue bars) at three different stages after 5 days of training. ∗∗, P < 0.01. Error bars indicate 1 SEM. Higher immunoreactivity indicates a better response to stress.

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