The Effect of Mindfulness Meditation on Affect and Attention : An Empirical Study
Abstract: In daily life there are numerous experiences and events that divert people's attention and cause stress, which may be linked with aspects of ill-being and lowered well-being. Mindfulness meditation may alleviate such issues. Mindfulness can be summarized as a form of awareness and attention in the present that is characterized by an open-minded and non-judgemental perspective, and meditation as a group of practices that engage many of the same processes and may involve mindfulness. There is evidence that both mindfulness and mindfulness meditation are associated with activity in brain regions relating to, for example, attention, emotion-regulation, and bodily awareness. Consequently, mindfulness meditation was hypothesized in the present study to improve attention as measured by the Attention Network Test, and decrease negative affect as measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule when compared to a control condition. The mindfulness meditation instructions employed were largely based on the work of Kabat-Zinn (1982). 14 participants were recruited to the study, and 7 of them completed the experiment. 3 participants were randomized to the experimental group, and 4 to the control group. Results were largely contrary to the hypotheses, with only executive attention having statistical significance (p < .05) and supporting one hypothesis. Although effect sizes were on average large for the variables of the study, the small sample size may have limited the power and increased the risk for type-II errors.
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