Neural correlates of meditation: a review of structural and functional MRI studies

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2020 Mar 1;12(1):92-115. doi: 10.2741/S542.


Here, we review the neurophysiological and neuroimaging changes that mediation induces in structural and functional MRI. The available evidence from structural studies suggests that mediation impacts neuronal plasticity and the functional MRI suggest that there are changes in gray and white matter in subjects who meditate. FMRI studies show that meditation is associated with decreased activity of default mode network and activation of brain regions involved in cognitive and emotional control. Together, the available imaging techniques have revealed that rather than impacting specific brain regions, meditation causes structural and functional changes in large-scale brain networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Meditation*
  • Neuroimaging / methods