Socially-mandated zoning out

Meditation. Feels like it might do something useful. Not quite as hip as LSD microdosing but much cheaper.

Questions: Can it help with life? With productivity? How much of it do you need to actually help? What kind?

Gwern, 2013 Lewis meditation results:

A small group of Quantified Selfers tested themselves daily on arithmetic and engaged in a month of meditation. I analyze their scores with a multilevel model with per-subject grouping, and find the expect result: a small decrease in arithmetic errors which is not statistically-significant, with practice & time-of-day effects (but not day-of-week or weekend effects). This suggests a longer experiment by twice as many experimenters in order to detect this effect.

Scott Alexander reviews a bunch of books, e.g. The Mind Illuminated, Mastering the ore teachings of the Buddha, and seems to come out saying… words.


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MacLean, Katherine A., Emilio Ferrer, Stephen R. Aichele, David A. Bridwell, Anthony P. Zanesco, Tonya L. Jacobs, Brandon G. King, et al. 2010. “Intensive Meditation Training Improves Perceptual Discrimination and Sustained Attention.” Psychological Science 21 (6): 829–39.
Tang, Yi-Yuan, Qilin Lu, Xiujuan Geng, Elliot A. Stein, Yihong Yang, and Michael I. Posner. 2010. “Short-Term Meditation Induces White Matter Changes in the Anterior Cingulate.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (35): 15649–52.
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