Examining the Influence of Mindfulness Meditation on Cognition and Empathy

Torrey Totman

Name: Torrey Totman
Major: Psychology
Advisors: Dr. Nathan Foster, Dr. Ashley Abraham
Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool that can provide a sense of peace in the present. It enables a broader attentional awareness of one’s self and surroundings, which then leads to cognitive changes (e.g., Brown et al., 2016). The current study examined the influence of short-term mindfulness meditation on long-term memory, attention, and empathy. Thirty college students that participated in the current study were divided into three groups that differed in exposure to mindfulness. The Mindfulness Meditation group performed Open-Monitoring meditation. The Focused Attention group performed meditation that instructed participants to focus on a particular object or idea. The Control group completed simple math problems. Meditation instructions occurred over three sessions for 10 minutes each. I hypothesized the Mindfulness Meditation group would exhibit better recall, better attentional performance, and higher levels of empathy than the other groups. Results indicated better recall on the third session for the Mindfulness Meditation group compared to the other two groups. Thus, three sessions of brief mindfulness meditation were shown to improve long-term memory. The findings demonstrate that brief mindfulness meditation can influence cognition, but only for memory and not for attention.

Torrey will be online to field comments on April 16:
8-10am EDT (Asia: evening, Africa/Europe: afternoon)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.