Mindfulness meditation has been shown to potentially alter individual’s perceptions to reduce negative attentional focus - which may be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms and emotional reactivity. This effect has not been studied in an immediate context, by having individuals meditate then view negative stimuli. To explore this effect, an ERP analysis on the effects of meditation on event-related late positive component amplitude was conducted to test the hypothesis of whether emotional regulation behaviors have the ability to lessen emotional reactivity. Participants were asked to meditate for 15 minutes, then viewed and categorized a series of negative and neutral images. Behavioral analysis of image classification as either ‘negative’ or ‘neutral’ determined that meditators more frequently categorized low valence images as ‘neutral’ than did controls. ERP results indicated that LPP amplitude between groups only nearly reached significance at two time points (350-400 and 550-600 milliseconds) when comparing high and medium valence conditions. A hemispheric analysis determined that meditators presented a right-hemisphere bias – characterizing more approach-oriented behaviors – which marginally reached significance. Lastly, a covariate analysis demonstrated that depth of meditation may have confounded the data, signifying that depth was significantly correlated to overall activation in the later epoch. The current study was able to conclude that meditation has a dampening effect on emotional reactivity – determining that meditation works to lessen left hemisphere activation – avoidance-based – and causes for more frequent categorization of images as ‘neutral,’ further supporting the notion that this practice can be implemented as potential treatment for anxiety related disorders.


Herzmann, Grit




Cognitive Neuroscience

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Breanna Bertacchi