Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Cognitive research indicates that attention state training may be more generalizable to other areas of cognitive ability than attention training. The present study seeks to examine Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a possible attention state training program for older adults. Thirty-two healthy older adult participants were randomized to MBSR or waiting list, and 38 older adults were randomized to a cognitive training program (Mind Aerobics) or waiting list control. Dependent variables included measures of attention, working memory, processing speed, memory, and general cognition. Participants in theMBSR condition did not show improvement on dependent measures as compared to the waiting list control. Participants in the Mind Aerobics condition showed improvements in areas trained, both compared to the MBSR course as well as waiting list controls, but no transfer effects. MBSR did not show expected effects on attention, working memory, or other areas of cognition. Lack of significant changes could be due to the fact that the studied population was quite healthy, as compared to the clinical populations in most mindfulness research studies. Future directions should include examining the effects of MBSR on cognitive ability in individuals suffering from physical or mental health concerns, as well as those who may have some mild cognitive impairment.
Bubb, Rebecca. "Mindfulness and Cognition in Older Adults" PhD diss., Bryn Mawr College, 2014.