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Experienced meditators have enhanced control over their eye movements

28 April 2017

Mindfulness meditation seems to improve the control we have over our eyes, probably because of its known beneficial effects on attentional systems in the brain. That’s according to research published recently in Consciousness and Cognition.

Veena Kumari and her colleagues tested 29 regular Buddhist mindfulness practitioners (they meditated at least six times per week, and had been doing this for two years or more) and 30 non-meditators on a pair of gaze control tasks.

One involved an onscreen dot jumping from a central spot to another location, and participants had to respond by instantly shifting their gaze, not to the new location, but to a point on the screen exactly opposite that location.

This is a demanding task because it requires inhibitory control to suppress the reflexive urge to glance at the target’s new location. Meditators were more consistent at making these “anti-saccades”, showing fewer sudden drops in accuracy that indicate a lapse in control.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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