Attention and Working Memory in Mindfulness-Meditation Practices

Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (2):123-134 (2011)
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Abstract

The construct of “mindfulness” has increasingly become a focus of research related to meditation practices and techniques. There is a growing body of research indicating clinical efficacy from therapeutic use, while cognitive neuroscience has provided an insight into the brain regions and mechanisms involved. Significantly, these approaches converge to suggest that attention is an important mechanism with trainable sub-components. This article discusses the role of attention and argues that memory has been neglected as a potential key mechanism in mindfulness–meditation practices. Specifically, it proposes that working memory offers a useful model for integrating and understanding the different mental devices that are used in meditation and suggests a model with the potential to provide a comprehensive account of how the apparent benefits of these practices arise. This call for a more comprehensive and integrated approach is necessary if the study and application of meditation are to become more than a parochial concern

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