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Meditation May Fine-tune Control Over Attention May 12, 2007

Posted by Dreamhealer in Research.
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 Everyday experience and psychology research both indicate that paying close attention to one thing can keep you from noticing something else.

However, a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that attention does not have a fixed capacity – and that it can be improved by directed mental training, such as meditation.

Seeing and mentally processing something takes time and effort, says psychology and psychiatry professor Richard Davidson of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and the Waisman Center. Because a person has a finite amount of brainpower, paying close attention to one thing may mean the tradeoff of missing something that follows shortly thereafter. For example, when two visual signals are shown a half-second apart, people miss the second one much of the time.

“The attention momentarily goes off-line,” Davidson says. “Your attention gets stuck on the first target, then you miss the second one.” This effect is called “attentional blink,” as when you blink your eyes, you are briefly unaware of visual signals. Read More….

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