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Examining the Protective Effects of Mindfulness Training on Working Memory Capacity and Affective Experience

Amishi P. Jha, Elizabeth A. Stanley, Anastasia Kiyonaga, Ling Wong & Lois Gelfand. "Examining the Protective Effects of Mindfulness Training on Working Memory Capacity and Affective Experience." Emotion 10.1 (2010): 54-64.

We investigated the impact of mindfulness training (MT) on working memory capacity (WMC) and affective experience. Persistent and intensive demands, such as those experienced during high stress intervals, may deplete WMC and lead to cognitive failures and emotional disturbances, but we hypothesized MT may mitigate these deleterious effects by bolstering WMC. We recruited two military cohorts during the high stress predeployment interval and provided MT to one but not the other control group (MC). WMC decreased over time in the MC group; in the MT group, WMC decreased among those with low MT practice time, but increased in those with high practice time. Higher MT practice time also corresponded to lower levels of negative affect and higher levels of positive affect. WMC mediated the relationship between practice time and negative, but not positive, affect. These findings suggest that sufficient MT practice may protect against functional impairments associated with high stress contexts.

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