Cortical thickness, mental absorption and meditative practice: possible implications for disorders of attention

Biol Psychol. 2013 Feb;92(2):275-81. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Oct 6.


Mental training techniques rooted in meditation are associated with attention improvement, increased activation and cortical thickening of attention/executive-related brain areas. Interestingly, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with behavioural deficits, hypo-activation and cortical thinning of similar networks. This study assessed the relationship between prior meditative training, attentional absorption, and cortical thickness. Grey matter thickness was measured in 18 meditators and 18 controls. Subjective reports of attentional absorption were modestly higher in meditators and across the entire sample correlated positively with cortical thickness in several regions corresponding to cingulo-fronto-parietal attention networks. Within these regions the meditation group had greater cortical thickness which was positively related to the extent of prior training. Evidence suggesting that meditative practice activates these cortical areas, improves attention and may ameliorate symptoms of ADHD by targeting vulnerable brain regions is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / pathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Negotiating / methods*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult