How Does Meditation Make You Smarter?

Posted on May 4, 2015

Photo: flickr

Over the years, neuroscientists have carried out brain imaging tests on long-term practitioners of meditation, including several Tibetan monks. According to the results of these studies, not only sustained meditative practices but also short-term meditation can produce profound physical, biochemical, and functional changes in the brain.

The slew of research studies into the neural effects of meditation is believed to have been influenced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Buddhists have a long tradition of intensive meditation. The Dalai Lama sent some of his most accomplished meditation practitioners to the University of Wisconsin to have their meditating brains probed into by neuroscientist Richard Davidson. What followed was a revolutionary experiment that eventually proved the phenomenon of "neuroplasticity" – the ability of the human brain to continuously evolve structurally and functionally.

Davidson conducted his experiment on two groups of subjects. The Dalai Lama’s disciples had undergone extensive meditation training for 5,000-10,000 hours, spanning periods between 15 and 40 years. The other group consisted subjects who had no prior experience with meditation but were made to go through a week-long meditation training session before the experiment.

The brain scan and EEG results of these two groups showed that the monks had greater gamma wave activity in their brains than the non-meditating subjects. The non-meditating subjects, however, recorded a slight increase in gamma wave activity in their brains after undergoing the meditation training.

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Category(s):Meditation

Source material from Brain Blogger


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