To efficiently handle the continuous flow of information to which the attentional system is exposed, humans are equipped with filters like the attentional blink (i.e., a failure to detect a second target when it is presented between 200 and 500 ms after the first one). The aim of this study was to examine whether the practice of two standardized meditation programs (i.e., mindfulness and compassion) could modify the allocation of attentional resources towards emotional information.
A sample of 90 participants (43 in the mindfulness group and 47 in the compassion group) performed a variant of the emotional attentional blink task using negative, positive, and neutral faces, before and after the 8-week meditation programs.
Both programs significantly decreased the standard AB effect (F(1.65, 145.58) = 39.79, p < .001, η2partial = .31) with only minor differences between them. Furthermore, the AB reduction after the programs varied according to the different emotional faces used (F(3.10, 272.83) = 4.44, p < .05, η2partial = .05).
Results suggest that standardized 8-week meditation programs may significantly change early stages of emotional stimuli processing while promoting a more balanced distribution of attentional resources towards emotional information.