Futurity

Short meditation boosts how students do on simple tasks

Students who listened to just a few minutes of a meditation tape performed better on cognitive tasks afterward, but there was one exception.

College students who listen to a 10-minute meditation tape complete simple cognitive tasks more quickly and accurately than peers who listen to a “control” recording on a generic subject, according to a new study.

“…you don’t have to spend weeks practicing to see improvement…”

The study shows that the benefits of a short meditation practice even extend to people who have never meditated before.

“We have known for awhile that people who practice meditation for a few weeks or months tend to perform better on cognitive tests, but now we know you don’t have to spend weeks practicing to see improvement,” says Hedy Kober, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University and senior author of the paper, which appears in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Researchers randomly divided college students into two groups. One group listened to a 10-minute recording on meditation prior to performing cognitive tests and the second group listened to a similarly produced tape about sequoia trees.

Researchers gave both groups simple tasks designed to measure cognitive dexterity. Those who listened to the meditation recording performed significantly better, across two studies.

There was one exception, however. Those who scored highest in measurements of neuroticism—”I worry all the time”—did not benefit from listening to the meditation tape.

“We don’t know if longer meditation sessions, or multiple sessions, would improve their cognitive scores, and we look forward to testing that in future studies,” Kober says.

Source: Yale University

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