Taming a wandering attention: Short-form mindfulness training in student cohorts

Alexandra B. Morrison, Merissa Goolsarran, Scott L. Rogers, Amishi P. Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Mindfulness training (MT) is a form of mental training in which individuals engage in exercises to cultivate an attentive, present centered, and non-reactive mental mode. The present study examines the putative benefits of MT in University students for whom mind wandering can interfere with learning and academic success. We tested the hypothesis that short-form MT (7 h over 7 weeks) contextualized for the challenges and concerns of University students may reduce mind wandering and improve working memory. Performance on the sustained attention to response task (SART) and two working memory tasks (operation span, delayed-recognition with distracters) was indexed in participants assigned to a waitlist control group or the MT course. Results demonstrated MT-related benefits in SART performance. Relative to the control group, MT participants had higher task accuracy and self-reported being more on-task after the 7-week training period. MT did not significantly benefit the operation span task or accuracy on the delayed recognition task. Together these results suggest that while short-form MT did not bolster working memory task performance, it may help curb mind wandering and should, therefore, be further investigated for its use in academic contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - Jan 6 2014


  • Cognitive training
  • Mind wandering
  • Mindfulness training
  • Sustained attention
  • Working memory training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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