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Do Mindful Breathing Exercises Benefit Reading Comprehension? A Brief Report

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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

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Correspondence to Virginia Clinton.

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Clinton, V., Swenseth, M. & Carlson, S.E. Do Mindful Breathing Exercises Benefit Reading Comprehension? A Brief Report. J Cogn Enhanc 2, 305–310 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41465-018-0067-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41465-018-0067-2

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