Evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation training has the potential to train aspects of attention. However, the neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning the attentional benefits from mindfulness remain unclear. This randomized controlled trial examined changes in electrophysiological markers of attention before and after completion of a 6-week internet-based mindfulness intervention. EEG and ERP data were collected from 64 generally healthy, mildly stressed older adults. Participants were randomized to an internet-based mindfulness-based stress reduction course (IMMI), an internet-based health and wellness education course, or a waitlist control condition. Attentional N2 and P3 evoked potentials were derived from active and passive auditory oddball paradigms. Participants in the IMMI group showed significantly greater differences in P3 peak-trough amplitude between the active and passive oddball paradigms at endpoint relative to controls. There were no significant relationships between the intervention and N2 potentials. Our data demonstrate a measurable increase in attentional control when discriminating or directing attention away from auditory stimuli for older adult participants who received mindfulness training. These findings lend support to the use of the P3 as a neurophysiological measure of meditation engagement and intervention efficacy.
- Event-related potentials
- Mindfulness meditation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Physiology (medical)