Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mindfulness helps undergraduates stay on track

Date:
January 14, 2014
Source:
University of Miami
Summary:
A form of mental training called mindfulness training, specifically designed for undergraduate students, shows promise as a tool to train attention and improve learning during the academic semester, according to a new study.

Few situations present as much distraction and time pressure as the college experience. In this environment, attention can be elusive and difficult to sustain even when it is attained. This lack of concentration interferes with learning and is associated with stress, which tends to increase during the academic term.

Now, a form of mental training called mindfulness training, specifically designed for undergraduate students, shows promise as a tool to train attention and improve learning during the academic semester, according to a new study by a team of University of Miami researchers.

The study is the first to examine the incidence of mind wandering and the impact of mindfulness training, at different time points in the academic calendar. The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

"This work was the first to integrate mindfulness training into the academic semester by embedding training in students' course schedules, hosting training in the academic building to best accommodate their schedules, and providing a supervised space for mindfulness exercises," says Amishi Jha, associate professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and principal investigator of the study.

Mindfulness is a mental state in which a person pays attention to the present experience without ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness training (MT) emphasizes attention-building exercises and learning to observe the activity of the mind, according to Jha.

For the study, 58 UM undergraduate students participated in an experiment testing the effectiveness of a seven-week mental training program designed to tame the mind wandering and increase focus.

The students were assigned to either the MT group or a control group, who received no training. All participants completed two testing sessions, oneat the start of the semester and again at the end of the training interval, as final exams neared. Attention was measured by examining overall accuracy and other performance measures in a computer task of sustained attention. The students also self-reported the incidence of mind wandering during the task.

The results indicate that the groups did not differ at the start of the semester. However, by the end of the training interval, the control group showed diminished attention and reported increased mind wandering, while those who participated in the program showed significant improvements in attention and no increase in reported mind wandering.

The study is titled "Taming a Wandering Attention: Short-form Mindfulness Training in Student Cohorts." Co-authors are Alexandra B. Morrison, postdoctoral associate in psychology; Merissa Goolsarran, research associate in psychology; and Scott L. Rogers, director of the Mindfulness in Law Program at UM School of Law.

Future studies will seek to work with larger cohorts. The researchers also want to look specifically at how MT may not only impact laboratory measures of mind wandering but also real-world mind wandering, which could influence academic learning, decision making, and psychological stress.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami. The original article was written by Marie Guma-Diaz and Annette Gallagher. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexandra B. Morrison, Merissa Goolsarran, Scott L. Rogers, Amishi P. Jha. Taming a wandering attention: short-form mindfulness training in student cohorts. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2014; 7 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00897

Cite This Page:

University of Miami. "Mindfulness helps undergraduates stay on track." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114103042.htm>.
University of Miami. (2014, January 14). Mindfulness helps undergraduates stay on track. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114103042.htm
University of Miami. "Mindfulness helps undergraduates stay on track." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114103042.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins