Event Title

Mindfulness, Task Engagement, and Divergent Thinking

Poster Number

44

Faculty Mentor

Donna Nelson, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

21-4-2017 2:15 PM

Description

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the application of meditation practices to promote positive outcomes in higher education. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that emphasizes focus and attention to the present moment. We conducted an experiment to determine whether a mindfulness intervention could improve college student task engagement and performance on tests of divergent thinking. We randomly assigned fifty-four undergraduates to a control condition or a mindfulness condition that taught them to orient attention and focus on the present moment. They then completed measures to assess their level of engagement during a test of divergent thinking. Our process for assessing divergent thinking was modeled after that used by Silvia et. al, (2008). Participants generated creative uses for a brick, creative instances of things that are round and creative imagined consequences of people no longer needing to sleep. Analyses revealed that those in the mindfulness condition exhibited greater divergent thinking (M= 3.58, SD= .39, n= 29), compared to those in the control condition (M= 2.66, SD= .41, n= 22), t (49) = -7.95, p < .001. Furthermore, reports of task engagement were higher in the mindfulness condition (M= 3.70, SD= .68, n= 32), compared to the control condition (M= 3.21, SD= .72, n= 23), t <(53) = -2.55, p < .01 . Our findings indicate that brief sessions of mindful meditation can be leveraged to promote creativity and enhance focus and task engagement.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, March 2017

Course Assignment

PSYC 471 – Sleigh

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Apr 21st, 2:15 PM

Mindfulness, Task Engagement, and Divergent Thinking

Richardson Ballroom

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the application of meditation practices to promote positive outcomes in higher education. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that emphasizes focus and attention to the present moment. We conducted an experiment to determine whether a mindfulness intervention could improve college student task engagement and performance on tests of divergent thinking. We randomly assigned fifty-four undergraduates to a control condition or a mindfulness condition that taught them to orient attention and focus on the present moment. They then completed measures to assess their level of engagement during a test of divergent thinking. Our process for assessing divergent thinking was modeled after that used by Silvia et. al, (2008). Participants generated creative uses for a brick, creative instances of things that are round and creative imagined consequences of people no longer needing to sleep. Analyses revealed that those in the mindfulness condition exhibited greater divergent thinking (M= 3.58, SD= .39, n= 29), compared to those in the control condition (M= 2.66, SD= .41, n= 22), t (49) = -7.95, p < .001. Furthermore, reports of task engagement were higher in the mindfulness condition (M= 3.70, SD= .68, n= 32), compared to the control condition (M= 3.21, SD= .72, n= 23), t <(53) = -2.55, p < .01 . Our findings indicate that brief sessions of mindful meditation can be leveraged to promote creativity and enhance focus and task engagement.