Nonlinear EEG signatures of mind wandering during breath focus meditation

  • In meditation practices that involve focused attention to a specific object, novice practitioners often experience moments of distraction (i.e., mind wandering). Previous studies have investigated the neural correlates of mind wandering during meditation practice through Electroencephalography (EEG) using linear metrics (e.g., oscillatory power). However, their results are not fully consistent. Since the brain is known to be a chaotic/nonlinear system, it is possible that linear metrics cannot fully capture complex dynamics present in the EEG signal. In this study, we assess whether nonlinear EEG signatures can be used to characterize mind wandering during breath focus meditation in novice practitioners. For that purpose, we adopted an experience sampling paradigm in which 25 participants were iteratively interrupted during meditation practice to report whether they were focusing on the breath or thinking about something else. We compared the complexity of EEG signals during mind wandering and breath focus states using three different algorithms: Higuchi’s fractal dimension (HFD), Lempel-Ziv complexity (LZC), and Sample entropy (SampEn). Our results showed that EEG complexity was generally reduced during mind wandering relative to breath focus states. We conclude that EEG complexity metrics are appropriate to disentangle mind wandering from breath focus states in novice meditation practitioners, and therefore, they could be used in future EEG neurofeedback protocols to facilitate meditation practice.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Author:Yiqing LuORCiD, Julio Rodriguez-LariosORCiD
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2022/09/13
Date of first Publication:2022/09/13
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/03/27
Page Number:24
Institutes:Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS)
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International