Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. John Paul Minda

Abstract

It has been suggested that as a cognitive exercise, mindfulness meditation has the ability to significantly affect attention in its practitioners. This may help explain why mindfulness meditation has found success in clinical practices. This thesis sought to extend this line of research by investigating the influence of mindfulness meditation on attentional preference. In the context of this paper, attentional preference was seen to be the ability of the viewer to be biased to either detecting local components or the global whole. Study 1 investigated how a 10- minute breathing-oriented mindfulness intervention affects attentional preference on the Navon, Flanker and Simon tasks when compared to a similar relaxation exercise. Study 2 replicated and expanded on these results; adapting the design of Study 1 into a week-long study, and modifying the control group into a true control. Results indicate that on measures of attentional preference on global/local images, mindfulness meditation offers no significant improvement when compared to similar relaxation techniques or to an untreated control sample. This work suggests that mindfulness meditation does not impact attentional preference. Further research is needed in order to investigate whether different methods of mindfulness-based practices have greater effects.


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