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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.


Results – Attentional Tasks (y-axis is inverse performance z-scores, thus lower/more negative scores indicate better performance).Across all four tasks (filter, impulsivity, flanker, and task switch) three main trends are present. 1) LMM individuals generally outperform HMM individuals on all tasks. 2) Overall participants perform the tasks better after breath counting than after web browsing. 3) The beneficial effect of breath counting is disproportionately large in HMM individuals as compared to LMM individuals. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.
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f2: Results – Attentional Tasks (y-axis is inverse performance z-scores, thus lower/more negative scores indicate better performance).Across all four tasks (filter, impulsivity, flanker, and task switch) three main trends are present. 1) LMM individuals generally outperform HMM individuals on all tasks. 2) Overall participants perform the tasks better after breath counting than after web browsing. 3) The beneficial effect of breath counting is disproportionately large in HMM individuals as compared to LMM individuals. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.

Mentions: To test our primary hypotheses – (1) that HMM individuals would perform overall more poorly than LMM individuals in measures of attention; (2) that all individuals would perform better on measures of attention during the session with the breath counting task than during the session with the web browsing activity; and (3) that HMM individuals would show a disproportionate benefit from the breath counting task – we first transformed the performance measures to z-scores (to ensure that performance measures on all four attention tasks were on the same scale) and then conducted a MANOVA with short-term intervention condition (Breath Counting vs. Web browsing) as a within-subjects factor and MM group (HMM vs. LMM) as a between-subjects factor. Consistent with our first hypothesis, we found a significant main effect of MM group (F(1,40) = 11.997, p = 0.001,  = 0.231), with HMM individuals showing overall poorer performance (i.e. higher z-values) than LMM individuals across the four attentional tasks. Consistent with our second hypothesis, we also found a significant effect of short-term intervention condition (F(1,40) = 9.87, p = 0.003,  = 0.198), with individuals performing overall better on the attentional measures in the context of the breath counting task. And finally, consistent with our third hypothesis, we found a significant interaction between MM group and short-term intervention condition (F(1,40) = 4.384, p = 0.043,  = 0.099) with the HMM individuals showing a disproportionate benefit across attentional tasks in the context of the breath counting task as compared to the LMM individuals (see Fig. 2). As further predicted, these effects were only observed for attentional measures as no main effects nor interaction was observed for the working memory or cognitive flexibility measures (see Supplemental Materials for additional detail).


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

Gorman TE, Green CS - Sci Rep (2016)

Results – Attentional Tasks (y-axis is inverse performance z-scores, thus lower/more negative scores indicate better performance).Across all four tasks (filter, impulsivity, flanker, and task switch) three main trends are present. 1) LMM individuals generally outperform HMM individuals on all tasks. 2) Overall participants perform the tasks better after breath counting than after web browsing. 3) The beneficial effect of breath counting is disproportionately large in HMM individuals as compared to LMM individuals. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f2: Results – Attentional Tasks (y-axis is inverse performance z-scores, thus lower/more negative scores indicate better performance).Across all four tasks (filter, impulsivity, flanker, and task switch) three main trends are present. 1) LMM individuals generally outperform HMM individuals on all tasks. 2) Overall participants perform the tasks better after breath counting than after web browsing. 3) The beneficial effect of breath counting is disproportionately large in HMM individuals as compared to LMM individuals. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.
Mentions: To test our primary hypotheses – (1) that HMM individuals would perform overall more poorly than LMM individuals in measures of attention; (2) that all individuals would perform better on measures of attention during the session with the breath counting task than during the session with the web browsing activity; and (3) that HMM individuals would show a disproportionate benefit from the breath counting task – we first transformed the performance measures to z-scores (to ensure that performance measures on all four attention tasks were on the same scale) and then conducted a MANOVA with short-term intervention condition (Breath Counting vs. Web browsing) as a within-subjects factor and MM group (HMM vs. LMM) as a between-subjects factor. Consistent with our first hypothesis, we found a significant main effect of MM group (F(1,40) = 11.997, p = 0.001,  = 0.231), with HMM individuals showing overall poorer performance (i.e. higher z-values) than LMM individuals across the four attentional tasks. Consistent with our second hypothesis, we also found a significant effect of short-term intervention condition (F(1,40) = 9.87, p = 0.003,  = 0.198), with individuals performing overall better on the attentional measures in the context of the breath counting task. And finally, consistent with our third hypothesis, we found a significant interaction between MM group and short-term intervention condition (F(1,40) = 4.384, p = 0.043,  = 0.099) with the HMM individuals showing a disproportionate benefit across attentional tasks in the context of the breath counting task as compared to the LMM individuals (see Fig. 2). As further predicted, these effects were only observed for attentional measures as no main effects nor interaction was observed for the working memory or cognitive flexibility measures (see Supplemental Materials for additional detail).

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.