Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility

Conscious Cogn. 2009 Mar;18(1):176-86. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2008.12.008. Epub 2009 Jan 31.


This study investigated the link between meditation, self-reported mindfulness and cognitive flexibility as well as other attentional functions. It compared a group of meditators experienced in mindfulness meditation with a meditation-naïve control group on measures of Stroop interference and the "d2-concentration and endurance test". Overall the results suggest that attentional performance and cognitive flexibility are positively related to meditation practice and levels of mindfulness. Meditators performed significantly better than non-meditators on all measures of attention. Furthermore, self-reported mindfulness was higher in meditators than non-meditators and correlations with all attention measures were of moderate to high strength. This pattern of results suggests that mindfulness is intimately linked to improvements of attentional functions and cognitive flexibility. The relevance of these findings for mental balance and well-being are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*