Does Mindfulness Meditation Really Impact Memory?

  • Brett Davidson Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Leonardo Landaverde-Umana Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Keywords: mindfulness, memory, meditation


Mindfulness—accepting the present moment, whether it is positive or negative, without judgment, bias, or commentary—has become an increased area of interest in psychology in recent years. Previous research has shown that even brief mindfulness sessions on novices can lead to better memory performance; the present study tried to confirm this. In our study, 40 participants from a university population were randomly assigned in-person to listen to a brief guided mindfulness meditation or a relaxation music session. After the audio session, participants were then asked to complete a false memory task in which a list of words was presented. Next, participants were asked to recall the original items that were shown and to not select related and unrelated lure items. Results of the 2 (male, female) x 2 (mindfulness, relaxation) between-subjects factorial ANOVA found that there was a main effect for original item recall, but opposite to our prediction: the relaxation group recalled a higher percentage of items than the mindfulness group. One possible explanation is that classical relaxation music can have a calming effect on the mind.

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