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7-Year Follow-Up Shows Lasting Cognitive Gains From Meditation

Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study led by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. The study is based on the Shamatha Project, a major investigation of the cognitive, psychological and biological effects of meditation led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, Center for Mind and Brain. 

“This study is the first to offer evidence that intensive and continued meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention and response inhibition, with the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across a person’s life,” said first author Anthony Zanesco, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Miami, who began work on the project before starting his Ph.D. program in psychology at UC Davis. The project is led by Clifford Saron, research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, in collaboration with a large group of researchers. 

The Shamatha Project is the most comprehensive longitudinal study of intensive meditation yet undertaken and has drawn the attention of scientists and Buddhist scholars alike, including the Dalai Lama, who has endorsed the project.

Read more about the findings.