Many meditation exercises aim at increased awareness of ongoing experiences through sustained attention and at detachment, i.e., non-engaging observation of these ongoing experiences by the intent not to analyze, judge or expect anything. Long-term meditation practice is believed to generalize the ability of increased awareness and greater detachment into everyday life. We hypothesized that neuroplasticity effects of meditation (correlates of increased awareness and detachment) would be detectable in a no-task resting state. EEG recorded during resting was compared between Qigong meditators and controls. Using LORETA (low resolution electromagnetic tomography) to compute the intracerebral source locations, differences in brain activations between groups were found in the inhibitory delta EEG frequency band. In the meditators, appraisal systems were inhibited, while brain areas involved in the detection and integration of internal and external sensory information showed increased activation. This suggests that neuroplasticity effects of long-term meditation practice, subjectively described as increased awareness and greater detachment, are carried over into non-meditating states.
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