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Attention-Mediated Neural and Behavioral Oscillation and Their Relationship to Dispositional Mindfulness
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Over the past decades, there has been growing interest in mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) and their association with attention. Preliminary research suggests that self-regulation of attention may mediate clinical benefits of MBIs. Although daily practice of mindfulness exercise and participation in MBI can produce noticeable intra-personal improvement in mindfulness skills over time, it is of greater theoretical significance to assess inter-individual differences in mindfulness and demonstrate the degree to which various levels of dispositional mindfulness relate to outcomes of interest. Furthermore, there are recent developments focusing on systematic temporal fluctuations in the brain waves and subsequent behavioral performance, which has been proposed as an underlying mechanism of attention. Thus, the current study aimed at evaluating the temporal pattern of behavioral performance and concurrent EEG data in visual cueing tasks via time-frequency techniques and investigating whether behavioral and neural parameters of selective attention in visual cueing tasks are associated with levels of dispositional mindfulness.To address these research questions, three experiments were conducted wherein participants completed an endogenous cueing task (n = 44, Experiment 1), an exogenous cueing task (n = 42, Experiment 2), or an endogenous cueing task with concurrent EEG recordings (n = 27). Additionally, participants from Experiment 1 and Experiment 2 completed self-report questionnaires including Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS). The results from the endogenous attention task suggest significant oscillatory activities at Delta, Theta, and Beta frequency bands for discrimination accuracy and at Delta, Alpha, and Beta frequency bands for reaction time. Likewise, behavioral data from the exogenous attention task indicates significant increases in evoked Theta and Alpha power in discrimination accuracy and reaction time, respectively. EEG data also support significant power spectral suppression in frontocentral electrodes in Delta and Theta bands when participants’ covert attention shifted either to the left or right target location compared with no-target condition. Moreover, we observed a positive correlation between FFMQ subscale scores and evoked power suggesting that levels of dispositional mindfulness are associated with spatial visual attention. Clinical implications and limitations of the current study will be further discussed.