Differences in visual sensitivity among mindfulness meditators and non-meditators

Percept Mot Skills. 1984 Jun;58(3):727-33. doi: 10.2466/pms.1984.58.3.727.


Tachistoscopic presentation of light flashes was used to test for differences in visual sensitivity among 3 groups of practitioners of Buddhist mindfulness meditation and non-meditator-controls. Meditation practitioners were able to detect light flashes of shorter duration than the non-meditators. There were no differences among the meditator groups. There were no differences among the groups in ability to discriminate between closely spaced successive light flashes. The lower detection threshold for single light flashes for the meditators may reflect an enduring increase in sensitivity, perhaps the long-term effects of the practice of mindfulness meditation on certain perceptual habit patterns. The lack of significant differences in the discrimination of successive light flashes probably reflects the resistance of other perceptual habit patterns to modification. The results support the statements found in Buddhist texts on meditation concerning the changes in perception encountered during the practice of mindfulness.

MeSH terms

  • Buddhism
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Visual Perception*