Brief mindfulness induction reduces inattentional blindness

Conscious Cogn. 2015 Dec;37:63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.08.007. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

Abstract

Prior research has linked mindfulness to improvements in attention, and suggested that the effects of mindfulness are particularly pronounced when individuals are cognitively depleted or stressed. Yet, no studies have tested whether mindfulness improves declarative awareness of unexpected stimuli in goal-directed tasks. Participants (N=794) were either depleted (or not) and subsequently underwent a brief mindfulness induction (or not). They then completed an inattentional blindness task during which an unexpected distractor appeared on the computer monitor. This task was used to assess declarative conscious awareness of the unexpected distractor's presence and the extent to which its perceptual properties were encoded. Mindfulness increased awareness of the unexpected distractor (i.e., reduced rates of inattentional blindness). Contrary to predictions, no mindfulness×depletion interaction emerged. Depletion however, increased perceptual encoding of the distractor. These results suggest that mindfulness may foster awareness of unexpected stimuli (i.e., reduce inattentional blindness).

Keywords: Attention; Cognitive depletion; Declarative awareness; Mindfulness; Perceptual encoding.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Young Adult