Short-term mindfulness intervention reduces the negative attentional effects associated with heavy media multitasking
OPEN Scientific reports | 19 Apr 2016
TE Gorman and CS Green
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.
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