Change in physiological signals during mindfulness meditation

Asieh Ahani, Helana Wahbeh, Meghan Miller, Hooman Nezamfar, Deniz Erdogmus, Barry Oken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


Mindfulness meditation (MM) is an inward mental practice, in which a resting but alert state of mind is maintained. MM intervention was performed for a population of older people with high stress levels. This study assessed signal processing methodologies of electroencephalographic (EEG) and respiration signals during meditation and control condition to aid in quantification of the meditative state. EEG and respiration data were collected and analyzed on 34 novice meditators after a 6-week meditation intervention. Collected data were analyzed with spectral analysis and support vector machine classification to evaluate an objective marker for meditation. We observed meditation and control condition differences in the alpha, beta and theta frequency bands. Furthermore, we established a classifier using EEG and respiration signals with a higher accuracy at discriminating between meditation and control conditions than one using the EEG signal only. EEG and respiration based classifier is a viable objective marker for meditation ability. Future studies should quantify different levels of meditation depth and meditation experience using this classifier. Development of an objective physiological meditation marker will allow the mind-body medicine field to advance by strengthening rigor of methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 6th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER 2013
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 6th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 6 2013Nov 8 2013

Publication series

NameInternational IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER
ISSN (Print)1948-3546
ISSN (Electronic)1948-3554


Other2013 6th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mechanical Engineering


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