Attentional function is one possible mechanism underlying meditation’s impact on stress and psychopathology, but few studies examine this newly discovered factor. Attentional allocation, in the context of cognitive and emotional self-regulation, may underlie changes observed following meditation training and practice. Additionally, meditation’s potential to ameliorate subjective and biochemical reactions to an acute stressor remains unexplored. The proposed experiment focuses on individuals with mild mixed anxious and depressive symptoms randomly assigned to a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention or a wait-list control. Group comparisons should reveal meditation-induced changes in perceived stress, anxiety, depression, emotion regulation skills, and mindfulness as well as physiological and biochemical responses to a psychosocial stressor. Attentional allocation, measured by the Affective Blink task, will be examined as a potential mediator of these changes. Findings will have important implications for the development and maintenance of psychopathology and the role of attention in effective mindfulness-based interventions.

Nicholas Van Dam, PhD

University of Melbourne, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Fellow, Grantee, Reviewer

Nicholas Van Dam holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology and has extensive training in Cognitive Neuroscience and Mindfulness/Meditation. He completed a B.S. in Neurobiology and Psychology at the University of … MORE