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Schötz, Eva; Otten, Simone; Wittmann, Marc; Schmidt, Stefan; Kohls, Niko; Meissner, Karin (2016): Time perception, mindfulness and attentional capacities in transcendental meditators and matched controls. In: Personality and individual Differences, Vol. 93: pp. 16-21
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Only a few studies have investigated the sense of time in experienced meditators. In the current case-control study, we investigated whether 20 practitioners in transcendental meditation (TM) showed differences in the perception of time as compared to 20 matched controls. Perception of time was assessed with a battery of psychophysical tasks including duration reproduction and time estimation tasks in the milliseconds-to-minutes range as well as with psychometric instruments related to subjective time and assessments concerning the subjective passage of time. Attentional capacities were measured with the Attention Network Test. Trait mindfulness was assessed with the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory. Results indicate that the TM meditators performed more consistently in the duration reproduction tasks in the multiple seconds' range and responded more accurately in the time estimation tasks in the minutes' range as well as in the duration discrimination task than controls. Self-rated mindfulness was more pronounced in meditators, while attentional capacities did not differ. In conclusion, experts in TM performed more accurately in psychophysical time perception tasks and had higher mindfulness than non-meditating controls. Whether these differences are causally related to the practice of meditation should be investigated in future studies. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.