Domain-specific enhancement of metacognitive ability following meditation training

  • Baird B
  • Mrazek M
  • Phillips D
 et al. 
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Contemplative mental practices aim to enable individuals to develop greater awareness of their own cognitive and affective states through repeated examination of first-person experience. Recent cross-sectional studies of long-term meditation practitioners suggest that the subjective reports of such individuals are better calibrated with objective indices; however, the impact of mental training on metacognitive ability has not yet been examined in a randomized controlled investigation. The present study evaluated the impact of a 2-week meditation-training program on introspective accuracy in the domains of perception and memory. Compared with an active control group that elicited no change, we found that a 2-week meditation program significantly enhanced introspective accuracy, quantified by metacognitive judgments of cognition on a trial-by-trial basis, in a memory but not a perception domain. Together, these data suggest that, in at least some domains, the human capacity to introspect is plastic and can be enhanced through training.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cognitive ability
  • Introspection
  • Meditation
  • Metacognition
  • Training

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  • Benjamin Baird

  • Michael D. Mrazek

  • Dawa T. Phillips

  • Jonathan W. Schooler

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