Concentrative meditation enhances preattentive processing: a mismatch negativity study

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The mismatch negativity (MMN) paradigm that is an indicator of preattentive processing was used to study the effects of concentrative meditation. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga meditation is a yogic exercise practiced in an ordered sequence beginning with breathing exercises, and ending with concentrative (Sahaj Samadhi) meditation. Auditory MMN waveforms were recorded at the beginning and after each of these practices for meditators, and equivalently after relaxation sessions for the nonmeditators. Overall meditators were found to have larger MMN amplitudes than nonmeditators. The meditators also exhibited significantly increased MMN amplitudes immediately after meditation suggesting transient state changes owing to meditation. The results indicate that concentrative meditation practice enhances preattentive perceptual processes, enabling better change detection in auditory sensory memory.

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