Does Meditation Make a Person Smarter?

Does Meditation Make a Person Smarter?

In spite of or even in absence of religious views, many individuals have tried meditating at various times throughout their lives but does meditation make a person smarter? A new research study is claiming that meditation appears to stimulate portions of the brain that basic relaxing does not and they are areas of the brain in which intelligence is believed to come from.

People who meditate appear to process more feelings and ideas than when they are only resting and letting their minds roam seems to be more effective than trying to empty the head of any thought processes explain scientists. The researchers have found that when meditating, by letting the mind wonder, scanner images show that the left side of the brain appears to be in some sort of concentration meditation, while the right shows the brain in a sort of non-meditation.

If someone wants to learn how to meditate, there are numerous methods such as Buddhist, Zen and transcendental meditation. These then can be divided into two different sets that are known as either concentrative meditation where the individual places emphases on his or her breathing and certain thoughts or non-directive meditation which tells the person to allow his or her mind to wander around as it wants.

Each of the applicants in the research study had experience with a non-directive type of meditation known as Acem. The volunteers received compassion training and were then compared to a control group who were taught cognitive reappraisal. This was a technique in which they were trained to change their thoughts to where they felt less negativity. The scientists then looked at whether the applicants had become more unselfish.

The participants played a game on the Internet where they had the chance to spend their own money in order to help someone out who was in need. The research leader, Helen Weng, stated that she discovered that individuals who received training in compassion seemed to be more likely to use their own cash selflessly in order to give aid to someone who was being treated unfairly than those who had been given the cognitive reappraisal training.

So it showed that compassion, similar to academic and physical skills, appeared to be something that could be improved with practice and training. By using the MRI scanner, the experimentation showed that the parts of their brains which are devoted to handing out feelings and thoughts were more active while going through meditation than while at rest.

‘When the volunteers stopped performing a certain task and were not actually doing anything distinct, that was when there was an increase in movement in the part of the brain where people process both feelings and thoughts.

That region of the brain experiences the most activity when individuals are resting. It is kind of like an operating system; a basic network which takes over when outside tasks do not need specific attention. Their intelligence seemed to increase during this time.

However there was only one research group member who commonly meditated and he stated that to get good research, it was going to take a team who could combine their own personal experiences of meditation with critical approaches towards any results received. He stated that meditation was something that was practiced by many millions of people. It would be vital to have scientists who also trained in it on future research studies so they could find out how it really worked.

In spite of religious views, many individuals have tried to meditate at various times throughout their lives and have found it has brought them much stress relief.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Scientific American News

Psychology Today

Time Magazine News

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