Attending mindfully: A psychophysiology study of sensory processing in meditators
There is growing evidence of beneficial effects of mindfulness on a range of cognitive functions and mental health. At the simplest level of explanation, mindfulness may promote well-being through its beneficial effect on emotion regulation by allowing earlier awareness of the sensations associated with (negative) emotional experiences and in turn ‘nipping-in-the-bud’ of maladaptive reactions to them. The exact cognitive mechanisms underlying positive effects of mindfulness, however, are yet to be empirically shown, and may vary according to particular style/s of practice. The primary aims of this project are to establish, using startle response models, whether mindfulness, cultivated specifically through ‘attentional training’ practices, is associated with a faster and more efficient processing of sensory information. The project involves parallel research studies to be conducted in the UK (Brunel University London) and in India (Banaras Hindu University).