Just Open Your Mind? A Randomized, Controlled Study on the Effects of Meditation on Creativity
Researchers from the Laboratory of Behavioural Neurodynamics at St Petersburg University have studied the effects of open monitoring meditation (OMM) on creativity.
The authors proposed that OMM will benefit creativity in metaphor production by cognitive flexibility (CF) enhancement. In the main study, participants were randomly assigned to one of the three groups: meditation, active, and passive controls. The first two groups performed an audio-guided task (real meditation or a narrative on house plants) for 2 weeks, and the third one had no task. Pre- and post-tests included measures of metaphor production, CF, state, sustained attention, attention shifting, and intelligence. We found no significant intra- or intergroup differences that would suggest OMM effects on creativity. Further, no links were found between measures of metaphor creativity and CF. Findings reveal potential challenges of using meditation as a cognitive enhancement tool. Methodological issues concerning meditation research, as well as creativity and CF measures, are discussed.