Meditation-Focused Attention With the MBAS and Solving Anagrams

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Abstract

A total of 257 undergraduate students completed 2 sets of anagrams separated by either brief training on the Meditation Breath Attention Scores (MBAS; Frewen, Evans, Maraj, Dozois, & Partridge, 2008; Frewen, Lundberg, MacKinley, & Wrath, 2011), progressive muscle relaxation, or a video (control). Participants receiving the MBAS, relative to those in the control condition, increased the number of correctly solved anagrams on the second trial. Participants in both active conditions expressed greater credibility that their respective interventions would help them concentrate and solve more anagrams on the second trial, relative to those in the observation video condition. An attempt to enhance participants’ expectation that they would improve on the second trial affected subjective ratings of success but not objective performance. Results validate the MBAS as a brief measure of focused attention and suggest that mindfulness meditation may improve concentration and objective performance on certain problem-solving tasks.

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