AbstractMindfulness meditation has been shown to have a positive effect on perception and subsequent motor-performance (e.g., Naranjo, 2012). Additionally, there is emerging research to suggest that neurofeedback (i.e., real-time audio feedback via EEG) during mindfulness meditation may boost executive function in cognitive tasks (e.g., Balgemann, 2015). However, to our knowledge, there is a limited understanding of how a combination of meditation and neurofeedback can be beneficial for motor task performance. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether real-time auditory neurofeedback during meditation influences performance accuracy and precision in a golf-putting task. Forty novice participants performed a 30-trial pre- and post-test with a 7-minute meditation phase between. During the meditation phase, all participants were given brief instructions and then half of the participants received neurofeedback of their meditation performance while the other half meditated with no feedback. All participants were equipped with an EEG headband (MUSE, InteraXon Inc.) for the duration of the experiment. Putting accuracy and precision data were submitted to 2 group (feedback, no-feedback) by 2 test (pre, post) mixed ANOVAs. Only the no-feedback group exhibited significant improvements in precision between the pre- and post-tests. Furthermore, EEG analyses showed that relative power of both the alpha and beta bands were significantly lower in the no-feedback group compared to the intervention group in the post-test only. These results suggest that novice golfers may experience acute benefits from meditation but that auditory neurofeedback provided during meditation may interfere with such performance enhancements.
Acknowledgments: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Ontario Research Fund (ORF), University of Toronto