Attentional orienting and executive control are affected by different types of meditation practice

Conscious Cogn. 2016 Nov;46:110-126. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.09.020. Epub 2016 Oct 3.


Several studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of meditation on attention. The present study investigated the relationship between focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation skills and the various functions of attention. In Experiment 1, we executed the attention network test and compared the performance of experts on dandao meditation with that of ordinary people on this test. The results indicated that the experts specializing in OM meditation demonstrated greater attentional orienting ability compared with those specializing in FA meditation and the control group. In addition, both expert groups registered improvements in their executive control abilities compared with the control group. In Experiment 2, we trained beginners in FA meditation for 3months. The results showed that the experimental group exhibited significantly enhanced executive control ability. We infer that FA meditation skills promote executive control function and OM meditation skills promote both executive control and attentional orienting functions.

Keywords: Attention network test; Dandao; Focused attention meditation; Mindfulness; Open monitoring meditation; Qigong; Visual attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Orientation / physiology*