The paper discusses some challenges from meditation studies which might be addressed within the framework of cultural-historical activity approach in psychology. The special focus of the paper is attention and its status as an independent mental process. This problem produced two classes of attentional theories in the history of psychology: «cause theories» and «effect theories». The two classes of theories are confronted as related to human perceptual activity within the framework of the activity theory proposed by Alexey Leontiev and the physiology of activity developed by Nikolai Bernstein. «Cause theories» and «effect theories» are analyzed both theoretically and in the light of experimental studies of the so-called «attentional blink» phenomenon. This transient attentional error under rapid serial visual presentation conditions, first described 25 years ago, has become a ground for the confrontation of various models and theories of attention. At the same time, it has become an object of the keen interest of meditation and mindfulness researchers. The facts of the attentional blink decrease due to the change of the structure of perceptual activity are compared to the facts of the similar attentional blink decrease after the meditation retreat. The problem of the nature of internal cultural means mediating meditation and mindfulness practices is raised as a result of the whole discussion.
The article analyzes the meditative experience and related psychic techniques used in spiritual practices in mediaeval Zen Buddhist monasteries in Japan. The various data of neurophysiological experiments with altered states of consciousness are used for a new interpretation of the nature of satori (enlightenment) and other levels of ASC.
These collected papers explore the phenomena of Altered states of consciousness (ASC) in crosscultural perspective as seen through various methodological perspectives.
The distractive effects on attentional task performance in different paradigms are analyzed in this paper. I demonstrate how distractors may negatively affect (interference effect), positively (redundancy effect) or neutrally (null effect). Distractor effects described in literature are classified in accordance with their hypothetical source. The general rule of the theory is also introduced. It contains the formal prediction of the particular distractor effect, based on entropy and redundancy measures from the mathematical theory of communication (Shannon, 1948). Single- vs dual-process frameworks are considered for hypothetical mechanisms which underpin the distractor effects. Distractor profiles (DPs) are also introduced for the formalization and simple visualization of experimental data concerning the distractor effects. Typical shapes of DPs and their interpretations are discussed with examples from three frequently cited experiments. Finally, the paper introduces hierarchical hypothesis that states the level-fashion modulating interrelations between distractor effects of different classes.
This article describes the expierence of studying factors influencing the social well-being of educational migrants as mesured by means of a psychological well-being scale (A. Perrudet-Badoux, G.A. Mendelsohn, J.Chiche, 1988) previously adapted for Russian by M.V. Sokolova. A statistical analysis of the scale's reliability is performed. Trends in dynamics of subjective well-being are indentified on the basis the correlations analysis between the condbtbions of adaptation and its success rate, and potential mechanisms for developing subjective well-being among student migrants living in student hostels are described. Particular attention is paid to commuting as a factor of adaptation.