Date of Award

Summer 6-9-2022

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Mark Huff

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Lucas Keefer

Committee Member 2 School

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Donald Sacco

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Abstract

Mindfulness refers to a mental state of being that involves nonjudgmental acceptance of current cognitions and emotions with awareness of the present moment. Researchers and clinicians have shown the efficacy of mindfulness as a treatment for psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression and have found reductions in reported stress. Building on clinical benefits, mindfulness practice may also facilitate attentional processes as practitioners are required to inhibit distracting thoughts and re-direct their focus to the present moment. My thesis examined the relationship between mindfulness practice and attentional control and potential spillovers to episodic memory. Experiment 1 gauged the relationship between the frequency of practice and levels of mindfulness in day-to-day life to a battery of attentional control and episodic memory tasks. Experiment 2 evaluated the effects of a brief mindfulness intervention by having participants complete two 5 min sessions of mindfulness meditation followed by a battery of attention and memory tasks. This mindfulness group was then compared to a control group who completed a task that did not involve self-reflection and present awareness. No relationships were found between mindfulness and attentional control or episodic memory in Experiment 1. Relatedly, brief engagements in mindfulness mediation failed to benefit attentional control and episodic memory relative to the control group in Experiment 2, contradicting the prediction that brief mindfulness sessions would produce cognitive benefits.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-5697-2023

Available for download on Saturday, December 31, 2022

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