Fox, K. C. R., et al. (2012). Meditation experience predicts introspective accuracy. PLoS One (a peer-reviewed open access journal), September 25. Full article.
From the Abstract: The accuracy of subjective reports, especially those involving introspection of one’s own internal processes, remains unclear, and research has demonstrated large individual differences in introspective accuracy. It has been hypothesized that introspective accuracy may be heightened in persons who engage in meditation practices, due to the highly introspective nature of such practices.
We undertook a preliminary exploration of this hypothesis, examining introspective accuracy in a cross-section of meditation practitioners (1-15,000 hours experience). Introspective accuracy was assessed by comparing subjective reports of tactile sensitivity for each of 20 body regions during a ‘body-scanning’ meditation with averaged, objective measures of tactile sensitivity (mean size of body representation area in primary somatosensory cortex; two-point discrimination threshold) as reported in prior research.
Expert meditators showed significantly better introspective accuracy than novices; overall meditation experience also significantly predicted individual introspective accuracy. These results suggest that long-term meditators provide more accurate introspective reports than novices.