Event Title

Working Memory, Attention, and Mindfulness

Presenter Information

Gino Veltri
Erin Alderson

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Start Date

5-21-2015 7:00 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 7:30 PM

Abstract

Working memory (WM) and attention are closely related to each other. Recently, some researchers have suggested that WM can be conceptualized as internally oriented attention. Mindfulness is defined as the cultivation of concentration, attention, and non-judgmental acceptance towards the present moment experience; with attention control viewed as the central component of mindfulness. Therefore, attention plays a central role in both WM and mindfulness. Our main question in this project is whether attentional mechanisms in WM and mindfulness are the same. Participants performed a battery of measures in two one-hour group format sessions. WM capacity was measured with two standard WM span tasks (Operation span and Reading span). Attention was measured with the Attention Network Test (ANT), which includes measures for three important functions of attention - alerting, orienting, and conflict monitoring. Mindfulness was measured with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and Cognitive Failure Questionnaire (CFQ). We also added the Identical Picture Test, and the Need for Cognition scale. A negative correlation between MAAS and CFQ, suggests that more mindful people have less attentional lapses in their daily life. MAAS was also negatively correlated with the conflict monitoring component of ANT, suggesting that more mindful people could inhibit distractors better than less mindful people. A correlation between Reading span and the orienting component of ANT, suggests that high WM capacity individuals could allocate attention better than low WM capacity individuals. Overall, our results suggest that attention in working memory and mindfulness are not the same, though they are related.

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May 21st, 7:00 PM May 21st, 7:30 PM

Working Memory, Attention, and Mindfulness

Working memory (WM) and attention are closely related to each other. Recently, some researchers have suggested that WM can be conceptualized as internally oriented attention. Mindfulness is defined as the cultivation of concentration, attention, and non-judgmental acceptance towards the present moment experience; with attention control viewed as the central component of mindfulness. Therefore, attention plays a central role in both WM and mindfulness. Our main question in this project is whether attentional mechanisms in WM and mindfulness are the same. Participants performed a battery of measures in two one-hour group format sessions. WM capacity was measured with two standard WM span tasks (Operation span and Reading span). Attention was measured with the Attention Network Test (ANT), which includes measures for three important functions of attention - alerting, orienting, and conflict monitoring. Mindfulness was measured with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and Cognitive Failure Questionnaire (CFQ). We also added the Identical Picture Test, and the Need for Cognition scale. A negative correlation between MAAS and CFQ, suggests that more mindful people have less attentional lapses in their daily life. MAAS was also negatively correlated with the conflict monitoring component of ANT, suggesting that more mindful people could inhibit distractors better than less mindful people. A correlation between Reading span and the orienting component of ANT, suggests that high WM capacity individuals could allocate attention better than low WM capacity individuals. Overall, our results suggest that attention in working memory and mindfulness are not the same, though they are related.