Monday, April 15, 2013

A review - Mindfulness meditation and our brain's default versus attentional networks.

I've been doing some homework on potential topics to work up into a lecture, one of them being brain correlates of various meditative, attentional, or default mode states. The vocabulary used is sometimes contradictory between papers, but two categories emerge. One uses terms for thought like default, narrative focus, phenomenal, social reasoning, theory of mind, baseline setting, self referential, introspective, and stimulus independent. The contrasting descriptors are attentional, direct experience, experiential focus, task positive network, physical cause/effect reasoning.

This cooks down roughly to distinguishing between brain networks whose primary activity occurs during internal narrative focus versus those activated during direct attentional experience.

In reviewing previous mindblog posts on the default network I come up with a partial bibliography of reviews and experiments, and thought some readers might find it useful, a list in no particular order, with brief notes:

Reciprocal repression (mutual inhibition) between networks - nice graphics  - some muddying of definitions

Relationship of this mutual inhibition to mindfulness meditation , which notes Farb et al., 2007

Review (NYTimes) on power of concentration - mindfulness training causing increased connectivity in attentional and default networks. 

Review with graphics of MRI of default network activated by autobiographical memory, envisioning future, theory of mind, moral decision making. 

Tierney - virtues of a wandering mind.  (context, larger agenda, creativity)

Review of varieties of resting state activity

Change between operating systems during eyeblink.

Different components of default mode active in different kinds of memory.

Mental time travel and default network.

Synchronization of both modes between individuals.

Default network can be realized by multiple architectures (split brain patients).

Default network as underpinning of cerebral ‘connectome‘  - good graphic.

Development of human default network from being sparsely functionally connected at 7-9  years.

Default mode in Chimps and Monkeys

Association of default network with midline structures.

1 comment:

  1. I'm unsure what all that means, but I do know what benefits mindfulness meditation has given me. Whatever the physical process is, the knock-on to mental health is just amazing...I have never been so happy or calm. I couldn't recommend mindfulness meditation enough!