Journal of Neurorestoratology


zazen, cognitive performance, meditation


Zazen is one of several meditation technics that pretends to reach calmness, reducing interference, and controlling awareness practiced by many people in the world. Zazen practitioners claim that a natural sense of wellbeing, spontaneous joy and self-fulfilling is achieved with its practice. Neuroscientific evidence shows that important modifications in the neuronal electric activity with compromise of several brain structures has been observed, especially those that are involved in modulation of attention. Our laboratory was interested to study the possible behavioural effects of a short time zazen practice to a group of secondary students of public or private high schools, with no previous training in any meditation technics. Two groups, 15-17 years old coursing the 4th or 5th year of their secondary study, one receiving zazen training (n = 31), and the other one recreation activities (n = 45) were selected. All subjects were tested with the Tower of London, Tower of Hanoi, Wisconsin Card Sorting and Stroop test to evaluate the cognitive abilities, at the beginning of the experiment (t0) and at the end of the experiment (t1, about 3 months later). Results showed that in the Tower of London and Tower of Hanoi, zazen group displayed significant less movements to solve the task, compared to Control. No differences were found between both groups in solving the Wisconsin Card Sorting test, but in the Stroop test zazen group was superior to Control in making significant less mistakes during solving the task. Results are compatible with a positive effect of zazen training in behavioural abilities of attention and planning strategies in secondary students.