What happens in the brain of meditators when perception changes but not the stimulus?

Autoři: Jürgen Kornmeier aff001;  Evelyn. Friedel aff002;  Lukas Hecker aff001;  Stefan Schmidt aff003;  Marc Wittmann aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg, Germany aff001;  Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany aff002;  Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany aff003;  Eye Center, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany aff004;  Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany aff005
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223843


During the observation of an ambiguous figure our perception alternates between mutually exclusive interpretations, although the stimulus itself remains unchanged. The rate of these endogenous reversals has been discussed as reflecting basic aspects of endogenous brain dynamics. Recent evidence indicates that extensive meditation practice evokes long-term functional and anatomic changes in the brain, also affecting the endogenous brain dynamics. As one of several consequences the rate of perceptual reversals during ambiguous figure perception decreases. In the present study we compared EEG-correlates of endogenous reversals of ambiguous figures between meditators and non-meditating controls in order to better understand timing and brain locations of this altered endogenous brain dynamics. A well-established EEG paradigm was used to measure the neural processes underlying endogenous perceptual reversals of ambiguous figures with high temporal precision. We compared reversal-related ERPs between experienced meditators and non-meditating controls. For both groups we found highly similar chains of reversal-related ERPs, starting early in visual areas, therewith replicating previous findings from the literature. Meditators, however, showed an additional frontal ERP signature already 160 ms after stimulus onset (Frontal Negativity). We interpret the additional, meditation-specific ERP results as evidence that extensive meditation practice provides control of frontal brain areas over early sensory processing steps. This may allow meditators to overcome phylogenetically evolved perceptual and attentional processing automatisms.

Klíčová slova:

Attention – Cognition – Electroencephalography – Event-related potentials – Perception – Sensory perception – Vision – Dwell time


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2019 Číslo 10
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