Mindfulness Meditation Alters Emotional Processing

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Brief mindfulness meditation reduces difference between late positive potential response to negative high arousing, neutral stimuli.
Brief mindfulness meditation reduces difference between late positive potential response to negative high arousing, neutral stimuli.

HealthDay News — Mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable changes in emotional processing, according to a study published online Sept. 7 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Yanli Lin, from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and colleagues examined the emotion regulatory properties of mindfulness by assessing its effects on the late positive potential (LPP).

The researchers found that mindfulness as a meditative practice reduced the difference between the LPP response to negative high arousing and neutral stimuli across time. The LPP was not modulated by a state mindfulness induction (instructions to attend to the stimuli mindfully).

Dispositional mindfulness correlated with modulation of the LPP as a function of meditation practice. There was a correlation between dispositional mindfulness and a reduction of the LPP response to negative high arousal stimuli and the difference between negative high arousal and neutral stimuli for those who listened to a control audio recording but not for participants who engaged in guided meditation.

"Together, these findings provide experimental evidence demonstrating that brief mindfulness meditation, but not deliberate engagement in state mindfulness, produces demonstrable changes in emotional processing indicative of reduced emotional reactivity," the authors write. "Importantly, these effects are akin to those observed in individuals with naturally high dispositional mindfulness, suggesting that the benefits of mindfulness can be cultivated through practice."

The Mind and Life Institute provided funding for the study.

Reference

Lin Y, Fisher ME, Roberts SMM, Moser JS. Deconstructing the emotion regulatory properties of mindfulness: an electrophysiological investigation. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00451.

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