Meditation Linked to Fewer Mistakes

If the prospect of a more peaceful, less reactive, and clearer state of being doesn’t get you to take a break and meditate, new research from Michigan State University linking mindfulness with fewer mistakes might persuade you.

A recent CNBC article outlined the recent study in which 212 undergraduate college students with no prior meditation experience listened to a guided meditation by Steven Hickman, a licensed clinical psychologist and the founding director of the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness.

Here’s a segment of the report: “The meditation instructed participants to notice the feelings, thoughts and physical sensations that arose in the moment and take note of them without judgment.

After meditating, participants completed a quiz on a computer that was intended to distract them and test their concentration. Throughout the experiment, participants were wearing electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, so researchers could measure their brain waves.

Researchers were looking for a specific neural signal that fires a half-second after you make a mistake, called ‘error positivity.’ They found that the strength of the ‘mistake’ signal was stronger in people who had meditated, meaning they were able to recognize and correct their slip-ups.

‘It makes us feel more confident in what mindfulness meditation might really be capable of for performance and daily functioning right there in the moment,’ Jason Moser, the co-study author said in a press release.”

What made the meditation in this study unique is that instead of focusing on the breath, research participants were instructed to pay close to attention to the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that came up during the session.

“The goal is to sit quietly and pay close attention to where the mind travels without getting too caught up in the scenery,” said Jeff Lin, the co-author of the study.

Listen to the 20 minute seated meditation here.