What happens inside the brain when we concentrate (meditate), and why does a person find it difficult to continuously concentrate for a long time? That is, why does one need a break after working or studying for a given time, or why do we lose our concentration after a certain time?


1 Answer 1


The Neurons become refractory which means that they can't fire again until time has passed. Look up Action Potential and the limits of firing rating. There is also a competition for different circuits to become conscious so when one becomes tried the other takes over. This is why it is hard to continue to think about one thing, without soon considering something else.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi and welcome to Psychology & Neuroscience Stack Exchange. I think you have the beginning of a good answer, but I wonder if you could improve it by specifying what "again until time has passed" means (how much time approximately) and replacing "Look up Action Potential and ..." with a few concrete references? Thanks in advance! $\endgroup$
    – Tsundoku
    Jan 6, 2021 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Tsundoku is right. If not, this answer will likely be turned into a comment. Thank you for your contribution! $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Jan 6, 2021 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ I am highly doubtful that firing rates or competition for consciousness limit attention. Without references to back up these claims, I believe this answer is false. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 6, 2021 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome. To be frank, this coupling of micro-scale cellular physiology to macro-scale higher-level brain functions is far fetched, oversimplified and incorrect. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jan 6, 2021 at 20:02

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