Long-term meditation: the relationship between cognitive processes, thinking styles and mindfulness

Cogn Process. 2018 Feb;19(1):73-85. doi: 10.1007/s10339-017-0844-3. Epub 2017 Nov 7.


The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between meditation and cognitive functions. More in depth the purpose is to demonstrate that long-term meditation practice improves attention skills and cognitive flexibility. Eighteen long-term meditation practitioners were compared to a matched control group, who never practiced meditation. Each subject was tested, using computerized software (Presentation Software 9.90), which measured: attention, visual search abilities, working memory and Stroop's interference tasks. Furthermore, we examined the relationship between long-term meditation practice, mindfulness skills and thinking styles, namely styles of processing information. The results showed significant differences between the two groups, demonstrating that long-term meditation is linked to improvements of attentional functions, working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Keywords: Attention; Cognitive flexibility; Meditation; Thinking styles; Working memory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Stroop Test
  • Thinking / physiology*