Journal of Cognitive Enhancement

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 225–239 | Cite as

A More Rigorous Examination of the Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Working Memory Capacity

  • Michael F. S. BaranskiEmail author
  • Christopher A. Was
Original Article


Working memory is a core cognitive system that is thought to support many forms of complex cognition. Mindfulness meditation has shown promise in improving the functioning of the working memory system, but no study has thoroughly tested its benefits by using a well-controlled study design (i.e., using multiple, valid outcome measures and an active, adaptive control group). The main goal of the current study was to more rigorously examine the effects of mindfulness meditation on working memory capacity. This was done by comparing 2 weeks of focused attention mindfulness meditation training to active, adaptive cognitive training regarding improvement on multiple, valid indicators of working memory capacity that were different from the tasks participants trained on. The results of the present experiment suggest that 2 weeks of focused attention mindfulness meditation training does not improve working memory capacity when controlling for non-specific effects. Future interventions using similar well-controlled study designs can consider using longer duration, more frequent, or alternative styles of mindfulness meditation training to potentially enhance working memory capacity.


Mindfulness meditation Working memory capacity Cognitive training 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. As both of the authors practice mindfulness meditation, a reviewer astutely questioned whether this can be a conflict of interest. There is no gain for the authors other than scientific knowledge.

Supplementary material

41465_2018_64_MOESM1_ESM.xls (19 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 19 kb)
41465_2018_64_MOESM2_ESM.xls (19 kb)
ESM 2 (XLS 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKent State UniversityKentUSA

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