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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 49-53

Performance in attentional tasks following meditative focusing and focusing without meditation

1 Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, India
2 Director, Pata˝jali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India

Correspondence Address:
Shirley Telles
Patañjali Research Foundation, Patañjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, Uttarakhand 249 408
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.113799

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Background/Aims: Ancient Indian yoga texts have described four mental states. These are caïcalatä (random thinking), ekāgratā (focusing without meditation), dhāranā (meditative focusing), and dhyāna (defocused meditative expansiveness). A previous study compared the performance in a cancellation task at the beginning and end of each of the four mental states (practiced for 20 minutes each, on four separate days) showed an increase in the scores after dhāranā. Hence, the present study was designed to assess the effects of dhāranā (meditative focusing) and ekāgratā (focusing without meditation) on two attention tasks (i) d2 test of attention and (ii) digit symbol substitution test. Materials and Methods: Sixty normal healthy male volunteers with ages ranging from 17 to 38 years (group mean age ± S.D., 24.87 ± 4.95) were studied. Assessments were made before and after the practice of ekāgratā and dhāranā on two separate days. Results: After both types of focusing, there was a significant improvement in all measures of the d2 test of attention (TN, E, TN-E, E%, and CP). However, the performance in the digit symbol substitution test was better after dhāraā but did not change after ekāgratā. Conclusions: Hence, in summary, dhāranā (meditative focusing) and ekāgratā (focusing without meditation) produce nearly comparable results though dhāranā (meditative focusing) results in better incidental learning and better accuracy (as assessed by the substitution task).

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