The influence of focused-attention meditation states on the cognitive control of sequence learning

Russell W. Chan, Maarten A. Immink, Kurt Lushington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive control processes influence how motor sequence information is utilised and represented. Since cognitive control processes are shared amongst goal-oriented tasks, motor sequence learning and performance might be influenced by preceding cognitive tasks such as focused-attention meditation (FAM). Prior to a serial reaction time task (SRTT), participants completed either a single-session of FAM, a single-session of FAM followed by delay (FAM+) or no meditation (CONTROL). Relative to CONTROL, FAM benefitted performance in early, random-ordered blocks. However, across subsequent sequence learning blocks, FAM+ supported the highest levels of performance improvement resulting in superior performance at the end of the SRTT. Performance following FAM+ demonstrated greater reliance on embedded sequence structures than FAM. These findings illustrate that increased top-down control immediately after FAM biases the implementation of stimulus-based planning. Introduction of a delay following FAM relaxes top-down control allowing for implementation of response-based planning resulting in sequence learning benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-25
Number of pages15
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Cognitive control
  • Meditation
  • Memory
  • Sequence learning


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