Masters Thesis

The relationship between meditation and neuropsychological test performance

Research demonstrates that meditators perform better than non-meditators on neuropsychological tests of frontal systems functioning. Thus, meditation may improve frontal lobe-regulated activities (e.g., attention), which could, in turn, have important clinical or educational applications. The current study predicted meditators would outperform non-meditators on four neuropsychological tests of frontal systems function (i.e., the Ruff 2 & 7 Test, the Stroop Color Word Test, the Trail Making Test, and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test). These tests were administered to two demographically similar groups of meditators (n = 17) and non-meditators (n = 13). Results indicated meditators outperformed non-meditators on a test of selective attention (the Ruff 2 & 7 Test), but not on any other measures. Interpretation of results suggests meditation may lead to improvements in selective attention, but not working memory, set-shifting, or verbal fluency. Results are discussed in light of study limitations and directions for future research.

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