ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (9): 1180-1188.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01180

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Mindfulness Can Reduce Automatic Responding: Evidences from Stroop Task and Prospective Memory Task

WANG Yan;XIN Ting-Ting;LIU Xing-Hua;ZHANG Yun;LU Huan-Hua;ZHAI Yan-Bin   

  1. (Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition. Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China)
  • Received:2011-07-29 Published:2012-09-28 Online:2012-09-28
  • Contact: WANG Yan;LIU Xing-Hua

Abstract: Mindfulness Meditation Practices (MMPs), defined by Kabat-Zinn (2003) that the awareness that emerges through paying attetnion on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding experience monment by moment, are a subgroup of mediation practices which are receiving growing attention. Although cognitive aspects of meditation underlie much of its clinical application, the processes underlying these clinical and intervention effects are presently not well understood. This study provides cognitive experimental supports for the idea that mediation leads to a reduction in habitual responding using randomly selected subjects, a secular form of meditation, and a full experimental design. Healthy adults were tested before and after random assignment to an 8-week course of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based cognitive theropy (MBCT), or a wait-list control. Testing included measures of Stroop task and prospective memory task, with prospective memory task embedded in a classic Stroop task in Chinese character. Results demonstrated that subjects completing the mindfulness training showed a significant reduction on RTs on both of the two tasks compared to pre- test by post-test, especially under the condition of Stroop incongruent, while the control subjects did not show the reduction. The RT difference between the ongoing task of before and after-PM was significantly decreased in control group in post-test relative to pre-test, but no difference was found in mindfulness group. Results suggested that mindfulness meditation practices can improve the achievement of Stroop task and prospective memory task, and cope with the interference of automatication and restraint the automatiation processing of prospective memory as the familiarity with the tasks by the subjects. Our results provides empirical support for the contention that mindfulness meditation practices leads to the deautomatization of response. No research on mindfulness exploited by prospective memory were found published until now.

Key words: Mindfulness Meditation Practices (MMPs), Deautomatization, meditation, Stroop task, Prospective memory