A Critical Analysis on Characterizing the Meditation Experience Through the Electroencephalogram

Camila Sardeto Deolindo, Mauricio Watanabe Ribeiro, Maria Adelia Aratanha, Rui Ferreira Afonso, Mona Irrmischer, Elisa Harumi Kozasa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Meditation practices, originated from ancient traditions, have increasingly received attention due to their potential benefits to mental and physical health. The scientific community invests efforts into scrutinizing and quantifying the effects of these practices, especially on the brain. There are methodological challenges in describing the neural correlates of the subjective experience of meditation. We noticed, however, that technical considerations on signal processing also don't follow standardized approaches, which may hinder generalizations. Therefore, in this article, we discuss the usage of the electroencephalogram (EEG) as a tool to study meditation experiences in healthy individuals. We describe the main EEG signal processing techniques and how they have been translated to the meditation field until April 2020. Moreover, we examine in detail the limitations/assumptions of these techniques and highlight some good practices, further discussing how technical specifications may impact the interpretation of the outcomes. By shedding light on technical features, this article contributes to more rigorous approaches to evaluate the construct of meditation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • brain
  • contemplative science
  • electroencephalogram
  • meditation
  • mindfulness

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