Over years of long-term practice, meditators’ brains and minds develop extraordinary abilities. One such ability is being able to exercise control over even basic mental processes that have long thought to be automatic from decades of research on non-meditating populations. A prior behavioral study conducted with expert Tibetan Buddhist practitioners who were shown ambiguous visual images showed that they could use focused attention practices to prevent their visual perceptual from automatically switching to new interpretations about the state of the world; a potential outcome of an individual engaged in present-centered awareness. The goal of the current study is to investigate what changes in the brain accompany such heightened present-centered awareness using a similar paradigm to the one used in the previous study. We will measure electroencephalography in long-term meditators who regularly engage in concentrative and absorptive practices and see how behavioral changes in perception are related to changes in brainwaves while comparing with non-meditators also doing the same task. This study will be useful both from a basic scientific and contemplative perspective in addressing the role of certain brainwaves in minds of individuals possessing extraordinary mental abilities cultivated through years of meditation training in present centered awareness.

Sucharit Katyal

University of Minnesota

Sucharit Katyal is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He is broadly interested in understanding how the mind becomes aware. His research so … MORE