This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a brief mindfulness practice on reducing the carryover effect caused by a previous task set and to determine the mechanism for its effectiveness. Experiment 1 showed that a memorized color interfered with subsequent visual search as a singleton distractor only when color was a defining feature for the search target. In Experiment 2, three interventions (scene-viewing, distraction, and mindfulness practice) were implemented across three groups for five minutes between two blocks; color was relevant to search in the first block and irrelevant in the second. Only the mindfulness group showed a non-significant carryover effect. Experiment 3 demonstrated that the scene-viewing participants continued adopting a suppressive mode of attentional control on a previously distracting color during letter judgment. In contrast, mindfulness practice could reset a task set. Mindfulness practice could enhance concentration in the present moment via reconfiguring the mode of attentional control.
Keywords: Attentional capture; Attentional control; Mindfulness; Task-set inertia.
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