Thursday, July 10, 2008

Meditation and executive function - untraining the brain.

A MindBlog reader passes on this link to a reposting of a interesting article by Chris Chatham on how easily normal conflicts in making decisions can be lessened by changes in attention. My May 1 post references other work on this topic.


  1. One thing I find interesting about the article and the study is that the "mindfulness" techniques they are using are NOT the same as mindfulness meditation, but rather are techniques akin to Ellen Langer's "mindful learning" and creativity model(s), which also are sometimes called "mindfulness." As Langer herself points out, her methods are not at all similar to meditation. See my post about all this, at:

    Best wishes (I love your blog!)

    Delany Dean, PhD

  2. Steve7:55 AM

    I'd be a tad leery of giving TM research much credibility, as they have a long reputation for questionable, misleading and tainted research. For example their frequent claim of increased "alpha coherence" has been shown to be the same a the normal coherence seen day-to-day in normal humans and statistically insignificant (see the recent Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness). Also, when compared to age-matched controls, alpha-coherence actually decreases in TM subjects.

    Also, the studies mentioned are produced by TM advocates at a TM-based "university", so there is an inherent bias to these studies (like cigarette companies telling us smoking is "good" for us). Other common TM research pitfalls include, weak null hypotheses, poor use of controls and lack of disclosure. Caveat emptor.

    Conversely. Mindfulness and Shamatha research seems to be improving beyond the pilot study phases and may have much to offer. In addition, it's often free, whereas the TM people charge exorbitant prices for simple, basic meditation instruction.

  3. I have heard that meditation can be dangerous. Is this true?