Meditators Probably Show Increased Behaviour-Monitoring Related Neural Activity

Neil W. Bailey, Harry Geddes, Isabella Zannettino, Gregory Humble, Jake Payne, Oliver Baell, Melanie Emonson, Sung Wook Chung, Aron T. Hill, Nigel C. Rogasch, Jakob Hohwy, Paul B. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Mindfulness meditation is associated with better attention function. Performance monitoring and error-processing are important aspects of attention. We investigated whether experienced meditators showed different neural activity related to performance monitoring and error-processing. Previous research has produced inconsistent results. This study used more rigorous analyses and a larger sample to resolve the inconsistencies. Method: We used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe) following correct and incorrect responses to a Go/Nogo task from 27 experienced meditators and 27 non-meditators. Results: No differences were found in the ERN (all p > 0.05). Meditators showed larger global field potentials (GFP) in the Pe after correct responses and errors, indicating stronger neural responses (p = 0.019, FDR-p = 0.152, np2 = 0.095, BFincl = 2.691). This effect did not pass multiple comparison controls. However, single-electrode analysis of the Pe did pass multiple comparison controls (p = 0.002, FDR-p = 0.016, np2 = 0.133, BFincl = 220.659). Meditators also showed a significantly larger Pe GFP for errors, which would have passed multiple comparison controls, but was not a primary analysis (p = 0.003, np2 = 0.149, BF10 = 9.999). Conclusions: Meditation may strengthen neural responses related to performance monitoring. However, these strengthened neural responses were not specific to error monitoring (although the error-related Pe may be more sensitive to group differences than the correct response Pe). These conclusions remain tentative, because the single-electrode analysis passed multiple comparison controls, but the analysis including all electrodes did not. Preregistration: This study was not preregistered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-49
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jan 2023


  • Attention
  • EEG
  • ERN
  • Error-processing
  • Mindfulness
  • Pe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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