The neuroanatomy of long-term meditators

Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Aug;28:172-178. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.12.013. Epub 2018 Dec 27.


Meditating is an active mental process that has been proposed to lead to structural changes in the brain, especially if occurring repeatedly, regularly, and over longer periods of time. Thus, meditators might present with a distinctive brain anatomy detectable via modern imaging technologies. This article summarizes findings as reported in the imaging literature when comparing long-term meditators with controls. The morphometric analyses applied include global, regional, and local measures, such as voxel-wise or point-wise estimates. Overall, long-term meditators present with larger (rather than smaller) anatomical measures than controls, which may be indicative of actual meditation-induced changes, pre-existing differences in meditators' brains, or a combination of both.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Meditation*