Research: TRAUTWEIN and COLLEAGUES

Listed in Issue 279

Abstract

TRAUTWEIN and COLLEAGUES, 1 Edmont J. Safra Brain Research Center, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel  ftrautwe@campus.haifa.ac.il 2 Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, Technische Universität Dresden, Chemnitzer Straße 46, 01187 Dresden, Germany; Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; 3 Department of Psychology, Würzburg University, Röntgenring 11, 97070 Würzburg, Germany; 4 Max Planck Society, Social Neuroscience Lab, Berlin, Germany tested three consecutive three-month training modules aimed at cultivating either attention, socio-affective qualities (such as compassion), or socio-cognitive skills (such as theory of mind), in three training cohorts and a retest control cohort (N = 332).

Background

Mindfulness- and, more generally, meditation-based interventions increasingly gain popularity, effectively promoting cognitive, affective, and social capacities. It is unclear, however, if different types of practice have the same or specific effects on mental functioning.

Methodology

Here the authors tested three consecutive three-month training modules aimed at cultivating either attention, socio-affective qualities (such as compassion), or socio-cognitive skills (such as theory of mind), in three training cohorts and a retest control cohort (N = 332).

Results

While attentional performance improved most consistently after attention training, compassion increased most after socio-affective training and theory of mind partially improved after socio-cognitive training.

Conclusion

These results show that specific mental training practices are needed to induce plasticity in different domains of mental functioning, providing a foundation for evidence-based development of more targeted interventions adapted to the needs of different education, labour, and health settings. Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

References

Fynn-Mathis Trautwein  1 , Philipp Kanske  2 , Anne Böckler  3 , Tania Singer  4. Differential benefits of mental training types for attention, compassion, and theory of mind  Cognition.  ;194:104039. Jan 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104039. Epub Aug 23 2019 .

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