Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

The Effect of Mindfulness-based Interventions on College Students’ Mind Wandering

Recent research has found that the human attention span has decreased to a short eight seconds, one second shorter than a goldfish (Patrick, 2015). Research suggests the mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) improve individuals’ attention abilities, including working memory capacity (Kane & McVay, 2012). Mind wandering is one aspect of attention, and is defined as thoughts flowing freely without any direction or control of the individual having them. One study found that even eight minutes of a mindfulness activity decreases mind wandering (Mrazek, Smallwood, & Schooler, 2012). These results show that short mindfulness activities can have a worthwhile effect on students’ attentional processes, which has potential implications for students such as increasing working memory capacity and reading comprehension (Kane & McVay, 2012; Smallwood, McSpadden, & Schooler, 2008). The purpose of this study, therefore is to discover if mindfulness-based intervention does decrease mind wandering in college students.

In a randomized controlled trial study, 30 participants were recruited and were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a recording led relaxation task, a recording led mindfulness-based intervention, or a control task of reading an article. Researchers used a mind wandering probe to measure the amount of mind wandering done by each participant throughout all sessions. This probe followed each intervention and included four questions to see how much effort the participant put into the intervention and how well they felt that they followed directions. Data is currently being analyzed from the 30 completed participants by two research assistants in the CRESP lab. Past research calls for well-designed studies to support mindfulness as an effective intervention for students, and this study supports the theory that mindfulness interventions are indeed useful for decreasing mind wandering in students.

References:

Kane, Michael J. & McVay, Jennifer C. (2012). What Mind Wandering Reveals About Executive-Control Abilities and Failures. Association for Psychological Science, 21(5), 348-354. DOI: 0.1177/0963721412454875

Mrazek, M. D., Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J. W. (2012). Mindfulness and Mind-Wandering: Finding Convergence Through Opposing Constructs. Emotion. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026678

Smallwood, J., McSpadden, M. & Schooler, J. W. (2008). When attention matter: The curious incident of the wandering mind. Memory and Cognition, 36(6), 1144-1150. DOI: 10.3758/MC.36.6.1144

Patrick, Josh. (2015, September 28) Taking time to unplug. SunHerald. Retrieved from http://www.sunherald.com/latest-news/article37514199.html

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Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 3:00 PM Apr 15th, 4:00 PM

Effects of Mindfulness Based Interventions on Mind Wandering in Students

The Effect of Mindfulness-based Interventions on College Students’ Mind Wandering

Recent research has found that the human attention span has decreased to a short eight seconds, one second shorter than a goldfish (Patrick, 2015). Research suggests the mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) improve individuals’ attention abilities, including working memory capacity (Kane & McVay, 2012). Mind wandering is one aspect of attention, and is defined as thoughts flowing freely without any direction or control of the individual having them. One study found that even eight minutes of a mindfulness activity decreases mind wandering (Mrazek, Smallwood, & Schooler, 2012). These results show that short mindfulness activities can have a worthwhile effect on students’ attentional processes, which has potential implications for students such as increasing working memory capacity and reading comprehension (Kane & McVay, 2012; Smallwood, McSpadden, & Schooler, 2008). The purpose of this study, therefore is to discover if mindfulness-based intervention does decrease mind wandering in college students.

In a randomized controlled trial study, 30 participants were recruited and were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a recording led relaxation task, a recording led mindfulness-based intervention, or a control task of reading an article. Researchers used a mind wandering probe to measure the amount of mind wandering done by each participant throughout all sessions. This probe followed each intervention and included four questions to see how much effort the participant put into the intervention and how well they felt that they followed directions. Data is currently being analyzed from the 30 completed participants by two research assistants in the CRESP lab. Past research calls for well-designed studies to support mindfulness as an effective intervention for students, and this study supports the theory that mindfulness interventions are indeed useful for decreasing mind wandering in students.

References:

Kane, Michael J. & McVay, Jennifer C. (2012). What Mind Wandering Reveals About Executive-Control Abilities and Failures. Association for Psychological Science, 21(5), 348-354. DOI: 0.1177/0963721412454875

Mrazek, M. D., Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J. W. (2012). Mindfulness and Mind-Wandering: Finding Convergence Through Opposing Constructs. Emotion. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026678

Smallwood, J., McSpadden, M. & Schooler, J. W. (2008). When attention matter: The curious incident of the wandering mind. Memory and Cognition, 36(6), 1144-1150. DOI: 10.3758/MC.36.6.1144

Patrick, Josh. (2015, September 28) Taking time to unplug. SunHerald. Retrieved from http://www.sunherald.com/latest-news/article37514199.html