Meditation practice is suggested to engage training of cognitive controlsystems in the brain. To evaluate the functional involvement ofattentional and cognitive monitoring processes during meditation, thepresent study analysed the electroencephalographic synchronization offronto-parietal (FP) and medial-frontal (MF) brain networks in highlyexperienced meditators during different meditation states (focusedattention, open monitoring and loving kindness meditation). The aim wasto assess whether and how the connectivity patterns of FP and MFnetworks are modulated by meditation style and expertise. Compared tonovice meditators, (1) highly experienced meditators exhibited a strongtheta synchronization of both FP and MF networks in left parietalregions in all mediation styles, and (2) only the connectivity oflateralized beta MF networks differentiated meditation styles. Theconnectivity of intra-hemispheric theta FP networks dependednon-linearly on meditation expertise, with opposite expertise-dependentpatterns found in the left and the right hemisphere. In contrast,inter-hemispheric FP connectivity in faster frequency bands (fast alphaand beta) increased linearly as a function of expertise. The resultsconfirm that executive control systems play a major role in maintainingstates of meditation. The distinctive lateralized involvement of FP andMF networks appears to represent a major functional mechanism thatsupports both generic and style-specific meditation states. The observedexpertise-dependent effects suggest that functional plasticity withinexecutive control networks may underpin the emergence of uniquemeditation states in expert meditators.
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