Mindfulness training with adolescents enhances metacognition and the inhibition of irrelevant stimuli: Evidence from event-related brain potentials

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JournalTrends in Neuroscience and Education
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Jan 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Mar 2016
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1-11
Early online date29/01/16
Original languageEnglish


With the increased interest in school-based mindfulness interventions, there have been repeated calls to investigate neurodevelopmental markers of change. This non-randomised study of 16-18 year olds with wait-list control group examined possible enhancements to brain indexes of attention processing after school-based mindfulness training using event-related potentials (ERPs) (N=47 for self-report; N=40 for ERPs). Results showed significantly more negative N2 amplitudes after training, in response to irrelevant frequent stimuli and colour-deviant non-target oddball stimuli in a visual oddball paradigm. Improvements in negative thought controllability were associated with more negative N2 amplitudes post-training across groups, and mindfulness training was associated with reductions in students' hypercritical self-beliefs. There were no group differences on task performance, but regression analysis indicated that programme satisfaction explained 16% of the variance in improved target accuracy. Together these results suggest that a school-based mindfulness curriculum can enhance older adolescents' task-relevant inhibitory control of attention and perceived mental competency.

Bibliographical note

© 2016 The Authors.

    Research areas

  • Adolescence, Attention, ERP, Metacognition, Mind wandering, Mindfulness

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