Meditation focused on self-observation of the body impairs metacognitive efficiency

Conscious Cogn. 2019 Apr;70:116-125. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2019.03.001. Epub 2019 Mar 11.


In the last decade of research on metacognition, the literature has been focused on understanding its mechanism, function and scope; however, little is known about whether metacognitive capacity can be trained. The specificity of the potential training procedure is in particular still largely unknown. In this study, we evaluate whether metacognition is trainable through generic meditation training, and if so, which component of meditation would be instrumental in this improvement. To this end, we evaluated participants' metacognitive efficiency before and after two types of meditation training protocols: the first focused on mental cues (Mental Monitoring [MM] training), whereas the second focused on body cues (Self-observation of the Body [SoB] training). Results indicated that while metacognitive efficiency was stable in MM training group, it was significantly reduced in the SoB group after training. This suggests that metacognition should not be conceived as a stable capacity but rather as a malleable skill.

Keywords: Consciousness; Internal and external attention; Meditation; Metacognition; Mindfulness.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Awareness*
  • Body Image*
  • Consciousness
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Metacognition*
  • Mindfulness