Poster B41, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Modulation of Event-related Potential Markers of Sustained Response Inhibition in Intensive Meditation Training
Anthony P. Zanesco1,2, Brandon G. King1,2, Chivon E. Powers2, Kezia R. Wineberg2, Rosanna De Meo2, Clifford D. Saron2; 1University of California, Davis, 2UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain
The limited capacity of attention forms a central motivation for dedicated mental training across various contemplative traditions. Previously, we reported improvements in attentional performance across a 32-minute Response Inhibition Task (RIT) following three-months of full-time focused-attention meditation. Here, we examine ERP correlates of these training-related improvements in sustained attention. 88-channel EEG was collected from training participants (N = 30) and matched, wait-list controls (N = 30) before, during, and after an initial intensive retreat (Retreat1), and again during a second retreat (Retreat2), when controls underwent formally identical training. During the RIT, participants made continuous discriminations and inhibited frequent responses (90%) to difficult-to-discriminate and rarely-occurring (10%) line target stimuli (1-2 s variable ISI). Second order blind source identification was used to remove putative sources of noise in the EEG. In Retreat1—when target discrimination difficulty was manipulated between assessments—control participants showed reduced amplitudes of evoked global field power (GFP) to correct inhibition of target responses (hits) at 417-490 and 507-552 ms post-stimulus between pre- and mid-assessments. Interestingly, we observed no comparable changes in training participants, potentially reflecting reduced sensitivity to changing stimulus parameters. In Retreat2, when discrimination difficulty was instead held constant across assessments, we observed a significant training-related increase in GFP amplitude from pre- to mid-assessment at 305-350 and 430-535 ms post-stimulus. Taken together, these results highlight electrophysiological markers of stimulus processing and response inhibition, respectively, that are sensitive to effects of training and stimulus parametrization, and that likely underlie previously reported behavioral improvements in the RIT.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control