Investigating the role of oscillations in endogenous and exogenous attentional states novel methods in neurophenomenology

" Our findings suggest that meditation expertise is associated with an attenuated frequency of mind wandering, and that meditation training reduces the susceptibility of the mind to wander subsequently leading to longer periods of reported meditative absorption. Increases in theta activity (4-7 Hz) over frontal midline regions of the cortex, and alpha activity (9-12 Hz) primarily focused over the somatosensory cortex, appear to be markers of sustained meditative states when compared to mind wandering. Based on the robustness of the frontal midline theta in advanced meditators, alongside a multitude of findings demonstrating that frontal theta may serve as the backbone for cognitive control via long range information integration in neural networks throughout the brain, we then developed a methodologically novel and exhaustive neurofeedback protocol with the aim of training frontal midline theta (3.5-6.5 Hz at electrode site Fz) by means of instructing our subjects to engage in focused breathing and other techniques similar to meditation. After eight training sessions, we found that subjects who received real neurofeedback were able to significantly modulate and increase theta activity (3-7 Hz) over frontal regions, whereas subject’s receiving age and gender matched sham (pseudo) feedback were not. We additionally observed significant modulations in both the alpha (9-11 Hz) and beta bands (13-20 Hz) in subjects who received real neurofeedback training. Together, these findings provide evidence that we can successfully connect neurophysiological features and data to the phenomenological nature of our subjective experience."

Last modified on 18-Feb-18

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