Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Researchers have sought to determine more effective methods of improving learning outcomes for decades, but have more recently examined mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). Mindfulness is characterized as being completely present in the current moment, and has been shown to have potential positive implications for attentional abilities and working memory capacity (Mrazek, Franklin, Phillips, Baird, & Schooler, 2013), or the limited workspace that alternates between processing demands and storage. MBIs have been shown to increase working memory capacity (WMC), increase positive affect, and protect WMC from erosion during high stress situations (Jha, Stanley, Kiyonaga, Wong, & Gelfand, 2010). Although previous research (e.g. Chiesa, Calati, & Serretti, 2011) reflects the effectiveness of MBIs for increasing WMC, some limitations and negative results demonstrate a need for more research regarding mindfulness interventions. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to determine if MBIs increased WMC in a sample of 30 college students.

Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental mindfulness condition, a comparison relaxation condition, or a control of reading. The study entailed a total of six sessions over six weeks. During the first, fourth, and final sessions participants received a battery of diagnostic tests and a demographic survey, and completed their assigned intervention during all but the first session. For the purposes of the current study, the results of the Operation Span Task (OSPAN) are being examined by two research assistants to determine any changes in WMC of the participants, and researchers theorize participants who completed an MBI will show significantly larger increases in WMC than participants of other conditions. These results would support MBIs as a method for increasing WMC in students, and suggest there is potential for MBIs to positively impact learning outcomes and thereby increasing academic success of students.

Category

Social Sciences

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

The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Working Memory Capacity

Researchers have sought to determine more effective methods of improving learning outcomes for decades, but have more recently examined mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). Mindfulness is characterized as being completely present in the current moment, and has been shown to have potential positive implications for attentional abilities and working memory capacity (Mrazek, Franklin, Phillips, Baird, & Schooler, 2013), or the limited workspace that alternates between processing demands and storage. MBIs have been shown to increase working memory capacity (WMC), increase positive affect, and protect WMC from erosion during high stress situations (Jha, Stanley, Kiyonaga, Wong, & Gelfand, 2010). Although previous research (e.g. Chiesa, Calati, & Serretti, 2011) reflects the effectiveness of MBIs for increasing WMC, some limitations and negative results demonstrate a need for more research regarding mindfulness interventions. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to determine if MBIs increased WMC in a sample of 30 college students.

Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental mindfulness condition, a comparison relaxation condition, or a control of reading. The study entailed a total of six sessions over six weeks. During the first, fourth, and final sessions participants received a battery of diagnostic tests and a demographic survey, and completed their assigned intervention during all but the first session. For the purposes of the current study, the results of the Operation Span Task (OSPAN) are being examined by two research assistants to determine any changes in WMC of the participants, and researchers theorize participants who completed an MBI will show significantly larger increases in WMC than participants of other conditions. These results would support MBIs as a method for increasing WMC in students, and suggest there is potential for MBIs to positively impact learning outcomes and thereby increasing academic success of students.