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Benefits of Mindfulness Training

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more recent version of this article was published on [05-10-2013]

Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering

Michael D. Mrazek
Michael S. Franklin
Dawa Tarchin Phillips
Benjamin Baird
Jonathan W. Schooler 

University of California, Santa Barbara
Michael D. Mrazek, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 E-mail:


Given that the ability to attend to a task without distraction underlies performance in a wide variety of contexts, training one’s ability to stay on task should result in a similarly broad enhancement of performance. 

In a randomized controlled investigation, we examined whether a 2-week mindfulness-training course would decrease mind wandering and improve cognitive performance. 

Mindfulness training improved both GRE reading-comprehension scores and working memory capacity while simultaneously reducing the occurrence of distracting thoughts during completion of the GRE and the measure of working memory. 

Improvements in performance following mindfulness training were mediated by reduced mind wandering among participants who were prone to distraction at pretesting. 

Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with wide-reaching consequences. 

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