Skip to main content

Do Mindful Breathing Exercises Benefit Reading Comprehension? A Brief Report


A brief breathing exercise designed to induce a mindful state could benefit reading comprehension performance, but has not been previously examined. Furthermore, the mechanisms of how an induced mindful state benefits cognition are not well understood. The purposes of this study are to test the effectiveness of a brief mindful breathing exercise on reading comprehension performance and examine two potential mechanisms (mind wandering and stress reduction). Undergraduate students (N = 105) engaged in either a mindful breathing exercise or control sham exercise, indicated their stress levels, and completed a reading comprehension assessment during which they self-reported their mind wandering. The mindful breathing exercise benefited performance, but the mechanisms for this benefit were not mind wandering or stress reduction.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


Download references


We thank R. Alex Karie, Kristina Syversen, Lisa Swiontek, and Newzaira Khan for their assistance with data collection and entry.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Virginia Clinton.

Electronic Supplementary Material


(XLSX 60kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Clinton, V., Swenseth, M. & Carlson, S.E. Do Mindful Breathing Exercises Benefit Reading Comprehension? A Brief Report. J Cogn Enhanc 2, 305–310 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: