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Short-term mindfulness intervention reduces the negative attentional effects associated with heavy media multitasking.

Gorman TE, Green CS - Sci Rep (2016)

Bottom Line: Consistent with previous work, we found: (1) that heavy media multitaskers showed generally poorer attentional abilities than light media multitaskers and (2) that all participants showed benefits from the short-term mindfulness intervention.Furthermore, we found that the benefits of the short-term mindfulness intervention were not equivalently large across participants.Instead, these benefits were disproportionately large in the heavy media multitaskers.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison 1202 W. Johnson St. Madison, WI 53706.

ABSTRACT
Recent research suggests that frequently switching between various forms of media (i.e. 'media multitasking') is associated with diminished attentional abilities, a disconcerting result given the prevalence of media multitasking in today's society. In the present study, we sought to investigate the extent to which the deficits associated with frequent media multitasking can be temporarily ameliorated via a short-term mindfulness intervention previously shown to produce beneficial effects on the attentional abilities of normally functioning individuals. Consistent with previous work, we found: (1) that heavy media multitaskers showed generally poorer attentional abilities than light media multitaskers and (2) that all participants showed benefits from the short-term mindfulness intervention. Furthermore, we found that the benefits of the short-term mindfulness intervention were not equivalently large across participants. Instead, these benefits were disproportionately large in the heavy media multitaskers. While the positive outcomes were short-lived, this opens the possibility of performing long-term interventions with the goal of realizing lasting gains in this population.

No MeSH data available.


General Task Design.In each session, cognitive tasks (white boxes) were interspersed with 10-minute bouts of a short-term intervention predicted to improve attentional performance (i.e. breath counting) or a control intervention (i.e. web browsing – gray boxes).
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f1: General Task Design.In each session, cognitive tasks (white boxes) were interspersed with 10-minute bouts of a short-term intervention predicted to improve attentional performance (i.e. breath counting) or a control intervention (i.e. web browsing – gray boxes).

Mentions: As shown in Fig. 1, participants first completed the filter task as a baseline measure. They then engaged in an initial 10-minute bout of their respective short-term intervention (i.e., either breath counting or web browsing). Next, they completed the filter task again, followed by the impulsivity task. Participants then engaged in a second 10-minute bout of their respective short-term intervention. This was followed by completion of the flanker task and the backwards digit span. Participants then completed a 10-minute bout of their respective intervention for a third and final time, after which they immediately filled out the flow state scale (to assess their feelings about the intervention itself). Finally, participants completed the alternate uses test and the task switching task. The second session was identical to the first in all regards except for: (1) the short-term intervention (i.e., those who underwent breath counting in session 1, switched to web browsing in session 2 and vice versa) and (2) at the conclusion of session 2 participants filled out the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale19 and a survey of their current and past video game use20.


Short-term mindfulness intervention reduces the negative attentional effects associated with heavy media multitasking.

Gorman TE, Green CS - Sci Rep (2016)

General Task Design.In each session, cognitive tasks (white boxes) were interspersed with 10-minute bouts of a short-term intervention predicted to improve attentional performance (i.e. breath counting) or a control intervention (i.e. web browsing – gray boxes).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4834474&req=5

f1: General Task Design.In each session, cognitive tasks (white boxes) were interspersed with 10-minute bouts of a short-term intervention predicted to improve attentional performance (i.e. breath counting) or a control intervention (i.e. web browsing – gray boxes).
Mentions: As shown in Fig. 1, participants first completed the filter task as a baseline measure. They then engaged in an initial 10-minute bout of their respective short-term intervention (i.e., either breath counting or web browsing). Next, they completed the filter task again, followed by the impulsivity task. Participants then engaged in a second 10-minute bout of their respective short-term intervention. This was followed by completion of the flanker task and the backwards digit span. Participants then completed a 10-minute bout of their respective intervention for a third and final time, after which they immediately filled out the flow state scale (to assess their feelings about the intervention itself). Finally, participants completed the alternate uses test and the task switching task. The second session was identical to the first in all regards except for: (1) the short-term intervention (i.e., those who underwent breath counting in session 1, switched to web browsing in session 2 and vice versa) and (2) at the conclusion of session 2 participants filled out the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale19 and a survey of their current and past video game use20.

Bottom Line: Consistent with previous work, we found: (1) that heavy media multitaskers showed generally poorer attentional abilities than light media multitaskers and (2) that all participants showed benefits from the short-term mindfulness intervention.Furthermore, we found that the benefits of the short-term mindfulness intervention were not equivalently large across participants.Instead, these benefits were disproportionately large in the heavy media multitaskers.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison 1202 W. Johnson St. Madison, WI 53706.

ABSTRACT
Recent research suggests that frequently switching between various forms of media (i.e. 'media multitasking') is associated with diminished attentional abilities, a disconcerting result given the prevalence of media multitasking in today's society. In the present study, we sought to investigate the extent to which the deficits associated with frequent media multitasking can be temporarily ameliorated via a short-term mindfulness intervention previously shown to produce beneficial effects on the attentional abilities of normally functioning individuals. Consistent with previous work, we found: (1) that heavy media multitaskers showed generally poorer attentional abilities than light media multitaskers and (2) that all participants showed benefits from the short-term mindfulness intervention. Furthermore, we found that the benefits of the short-term mindfulness intervention were not equivalently large across participants. Instead, these benefits were disproportionately large in the heavy media multitaskers. While the positive outcomes were short-lived, this opens the possibility of performing long-term interventions with the goal of realizing lasting gains in this population.

No MeSH data available.