Increased False-Memory Susceptibility After Mindfulness Meditation

Brent Wilson, Laura Mickes, Stephanie Stolarz-Fantino, Matthew Evrard, Edmund Fantino

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Abstract

The effect of mindfulness meditation on false-memory susceptibility was examined in three experiments. Because mindfulness meditation encourages judgment-free thoughts and feelings, we predicted that participants in the mindfulness condition would be especially likely to form false memories. In two experiments, participants were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness induction, in which they were instructed to focus attention on their breathing, or a mind-wandering induction, in which they were instructed to think about whatever came to mind. The overall number of words from the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm that were correctly recalled did not differ between conditions. However, participants in the mindfulness condition were significantly more likely to report critical nonstudied items than participants in the control condition. In a third experiment, which tested recognition and used a reality-monitoring paradigm, participants had reduced reality-monitoring accuracy after completing the mindfulness induction. These results demonstrate a potential unintended consequence of mindfulness meditation in which memories become less reliable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1567-1573
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Volume26
Issue number10
Early online date4 Sept 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

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