Investigating the impact of mindfulness meditation training on working memory: A mathematical modeling approach

Marieke K. Van Vugt, Amishi P. Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We investigated whether mindfulness training (MT) influences information processing in a working memory task with complex visual stimuli. Participants were tested before (T1) and after (T2) participation in an intensive one-month MT retreat, and their performance was compared with that of an age- and education-matched control group. Accuracy did not differ across groups at either time point. Response times were faster and significantly less variable in the MT versus the control group at T2. Since these results could be due to changes in mnemonic processes, speed-accuracy trade-off, or nondecisional factors (e.g.; motor execution), we used a mathematical modeling approach to disentangle these factors. The EZ-diffusion model (Wagenmakers, van der Maas, & Grasman, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 14:(1), 3-22, 2007) suggested that MT leads to improved information quality and reduced response conservativeness, with no changes in nondecisional factors. The noisy exemplar model further suggested that the increase in information quality reflected a decrease in encoding noise and not an increase in forgetting. Thus, mathematical modeling may help clarify the mechanisms by which MT produces salutary effects on performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Attention
  • Computational model
  • Decision making
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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