Mindfulness

An exciting recent advance in the lab’s research agenda has been an examination of the impact of meditation and mindfulness techniques on attenuating mind-wandering.  Conceptually speaking mind-wandering, which entails the mind’s drifting away from the here and now, can be conceived of as something akin to the opposite of mindfulness, in which the mind is focused on the present.  A recent article by Mrazek, Smallwood, and Schooler (2012) demonstrated that individuals who show a penchant for mindfulness (as measured by a variety of pre-existing self report measures) are less inclined to mind-wander in the laboratory.   Perhaps even more importantly this study further demonstrated that a simple technique for enhancing mindfulness (attending to the breath for 10 minutes) reduces the behavioral consequences of mind-wandering.    We are also extremely encouraged by results of a recent meditation training study (Mrazek et al, 2013) in which undergraduates received either a two week meditation class or a two week nutrition class.  Comparisons between performance on pre and post test measures of both mind-wandering and reading comprehension revealed a marked reduction in mind-wandering and improvement in reading performance for participants in the meditation training condition, but no change for participants in the nutrition condition.  

News

Selected Publications

Researchers

Jonathan Schooler

My lab’s research takes a “big picture” perspective in attempting to understand the nature of mental life, and in particular consciousness. Combining empirical, philosophical, and contemplative traditions, we address broad questions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Michael Mrazek

Michael Mrazek, Ph.D. is the director of research at the University of California's Center for Mindfulness & Human Potential. His research identifies innovative ways to increase the effectiveness of mindfulness training, particularly in high schools. He also tests the limits of how much a person can improve through intensive evidence-based training programs that target health, mindfulness, and self-control. 

Alissa Mrazek

Alissa’s research investigates the roles of mindsets and self-regulatory strategies on cognitive and affective malleability. Another focus of her research explores the fidelity and efficacy of mindfulness-based training programs

Amanda Low

Amanda is a fourth year Psychology major assisting Madeleine Gross with her research. She is interested in mindfulness, creativity, and meditation.