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Klinik für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie

EEG spectral signature of the impact of mindfulness meditation on perceptual-motor awareness and Self-agency

José Raúl Naranjo and Stefan Schmidt

We have previously assessed the impact of mindfulness meditation (MBSR) on perceptual-motor awareness, self-agency, motor accuracy, reaction time and movement duration in a visuomotor reaching task with false feedback. We compared a group of short-term meditators (SM) participating in the MBSR program with an age and sex-matched control group (CG) receiving no intervention in a pre-post design. We found that SM meditators had lower motor errors than non-meditators, and were considerable slower after the MBSR intervention. We also found that participants in the MS group got aware of a conflict between perceptual and motor information at close to significantly lower levels of angular deviation after the MBSR intervention in comparison to the CG group. This investigation identified, for the first time to our knowledge, positive behavioral signatures of mindfulness meditation in the context of a perceptual-motor integration task. In this present project we aim to study the neural mechanisms underlying these positive behavioral changes, by analyzing the EEG data that was recorded during our previous behavioral study. To our knowledge, the EEG activity associated with the impact of meditation on perceptual-motor awareness and self-agency in a visuomotor task has never been investigated before. We specifically aim to study the EEG spectral power and coherence signatures related to visuomotor performance and perceptual-motor awareness in the SM group before and after the MBSR intervention and to correlate these EEG signatures with the behavioral data. We predict that the EEG spectral power associated to visuomotor coordination and perceptual-motor awareness will change after the MBSR intervention. Specifically, we expect a decrease of power (in beta band) and an increase of coherence (in gamma band) in different areas within the frontoparietal network most probably in prefrontal, premotor and superior parietal areas. Those effects are expected to be observed specifically in the beta and gamma bands, which are known to be associated with visuomotor control processes, sensory-motor binding respectively.