Just 20 minutes of meditation can improve a person’s ability to detect mistakes, a survey has found, with calls for more research into its impact on brain activity.

A team from Michigan State University looked at the effects of open monitoring meditating, which is when a person focuses their awareness on feelings and sensations as they experience them.

They found that the effect of meditation altered brain activity linked to the ability to recognise errors.

Study co-author Jeff Lin, a psychology doctoral candidate at the university, said: “These findings are a strong demonstration of what just 20 minutes of meditation can do to enhance the brain’s ability to detect and pay attention to mistakes. It makes us feel more confident in what mindfulness meditation might really be capable of for performance and daily functioning right there in the moment.

“People’s interest in meditation and mindfulness is outpacing what science can prove in terms of effects and benefits. But it’s amazing to me that we were able to see how one session of a guided meditation can produce changes to brain activity in non-meditators.”

In the largest study of its kind, 200 participants were taken through a 20-minute meditation exercise, with researchers using an EEG to measure brain activity.

The team has said “there’s still plenty of work” to do but added it is time to start looking at meditation “through a more rigorous lens”.

They said that future research should look at whether these changes in brain activity can lead to behavioural change if meditation is used long-term.

The study has been published in the journal Brain Sciences.

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