A computational model of focused attention meditation and its transfer to a sustained attention task

Moye, A. S. & van Vugt, M., 22-Jul-2017, Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. van Vugt, M. K., Banks, A. P. & Kennedy, W. G. (eds.). Coventry, UK: University of Warwick, Inclusive Technology Ltd, p. 43-48 6 p.

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Although meditation and mindfulness practices are widely discussed and studied more and more in the scientific literature, there is little theory about the cognitive mechanisms that comprise it. Here we begin to develop such a theory by creating a computational cognitive model of a particular type of meditation: focused attention mediation. This model was created within Prims, a cognitive architecture similar to and based on ACT-R, which enables us to make predictions about the cognitive tasks that meditation experience may affect. We implemented a model based on an extensive literature review of how the meditation experience unfolds over time. We then subjected the Prims model to a session of the Sustained Reaction to Response Task, a task typically used to study sustained attention, a faculty that may be trained with meditation practice. Analyses revealed that the model was significantly more sensitive to detecting targets and non-targets after the meditation practice than before. These results agree with empirical findings of a longitudinal study conducted in 2010. These results suggest that our approach to modeling meditation and its effects of cognition is feasible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling
EditorsMarieke K van Vugt, Adrian P Banks, William G Kennedy
Place of PublicationCoventry, UK
PublisherUniversity of Warwick, Inclusive Technology Ltd
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 22-Jul-2017
EventSociety for Mathematical Psychology-ICCM - University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 22-Jul-201725-Jul-2017


ConferenceSociety for Mathematical Psychology-ICCM
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Society for Mathematical Psychology-ICCM


Coventry, United Kingdom

Event: Conference


  • cognitive modeling, meditation, mindfulness

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