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Meditators and non-meditators on sustained and executive attentional performance
Halmstad University, School of Social and Health Sciences (HOS), Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI).
Göteborgs universitet.
2010 (English)In: Mental Health, Religion & Culture, ISSN 1367-4676, E-ISSN 1469-9737, Vol. 14, no 3, 291-309 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the mindfulness construct and the mental health benefits associated with mindfulness-based programmes, the relation between mindfulness and its proposed core component attention was studied. Buddhist and Western mindfulness meditators were compared with non-meditators on tasks of sustained (SART) and executive (the Stroop Task) attention. Relations between self-reported mindfulness (FFMQ) and sustained and executive attention were also analysed. No significant differences were found between meditators and non-meditators either in sustained or executive attention. High scores on the FFMQ total scale and on Describe were related to fewer SART errors. High scores on Describe were also related to low Stroop interference. Mindfulness meditators may have an increased awareness of internal processes and the ability to quickly attend to them but this type of refined attentional ability does not seem to be related to performance on attention tests requiring responses to external targets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2010. Vol. 14, no 3, 291-309 p.
Keyword [en]
attention, meditation, mental health, mindfulness
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-25047DOI: 10.1080/13674670903578621Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-79952470046OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-25047DiVA: diva2:712230
Available from: 2014-04-14 Created: 2014-04-14 Last updated: 2015-01-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mindfulness: Relations to attention regulation, decentering, and psychological well-being
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mindfulness: Relations to attention regulation, decentering, and psychological well-being
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The current research project consists of three separate studies. The general aim of this project was to contribute to previous mindfulness research by exploring fundamental aspects of mindfulness in an effort to increase the understanding of mindfulness as a construct as well as its mechanisms. The purpose of the study I was to investigate the relation between mindfulness and sustained and executive attention by comparing Buddhist and Western mindfulness meditators (n = 47) and non-meditators (n = 45) in performance on computerized attention. The main purpose of study II was to compare these meditators and non-meditators on self-reported mindfulness, and also to investigate whether facets of mindfulness mediate the relation between meditation experience and psychological well-being. Study III aimed at investigating the unique effects of mindfulness practice as well as the proposed mindfulness mechanism; decentering. A short-term mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) (n = 46) was compared with relaxation training (n = 40) and a waiting-list group (n = 40) on a battery of tests - executive attention, self-reported mindfulness, decentering, psychological well-being, anxiety, depression, and coping styles – in 126 employees with no prior meditation experience. The results showed no significant differences between meditators and non-meditators either in sustained or executive attention. Meditators rated themselves higher than non-meditators on four of the five facets of mindfulness. The multiple mediation analysis showed that the five mindfulness facets mediated the relationship between meditation experience and psychological well-being but no single facet contributed significantly. Simple mediation analyses indicated, however, that Non-React was the primary mediator. No unique mindfulness effects were found since there were no differences between mindfulness and relaxation in any of the variables. However, the mindfulness group scored higher than the waiting-list group on the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire total scale and psychological wellbeing. Meditators may have an increased awareness of internal processes and the ability to quickly attend to them, but this type of refined attentional ability does not seem to be related to performance on attention tests requiring quick responses to external targets. It may be concluded that effects on attention regulation are of less importance compared to other beneficial psychological and physiological health outcomes due to mindfulness meditation. Mediation analyses supported (i) the notion that meditation experience is related to increased mindfulness, which in turn is associated with improved psychological well-being, and (ii) the idea that increases in mindfulness lead to increased decentering abilities which in turn leads to improved psychological well-being. Possible explanations for the absence of unique group differences between mindfulness and relaxation are that the length of the intervention was too short and the sessions too few, similarities between body exercises in MBI and relaxation, and the lack of group differences on decentering. Investigating unique mindfulness effects to distinguish mindfulness effects from relaxation should be prioritized in future studies. The promising theory of mechanisms proposed in the Buddhist Psychological Model (BPM) needs to be empirically evaluated. MBI-related changes in selfperceptions, value systems, and ethical aspects may play a more important role for improved psychological health than what has previously been recognized. Other Buddhist practices such as loving-kindness meditation and compassion meditation also need to be examined. Finally, an in-depth dialogue between Western researchers, expert meditators, and Buddhist theoreticians may be increasingly important for mindfulness research to advance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: University of Gothenburg, 2013. 104 p.
Series
Avhandling / Göteborgs universitet, Psykologiska institutionen, ISSN 1101-718X ; 281
Keyword
attention, buddhism, decentering, mediation analysis, meditation, mindfulness, psychological well-being
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-25048 (URN)978-91-628-8716-2 (ISBN)978-91-628-8715-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-02, Sal F 1, Psykologiska institutionen, Haraldsgatan 1, Göteborg, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-01-19 Created: 2014-04-14 Last updated: 2015-01-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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