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Mindfulness Training Can Improve Working Memory, Reading Comprehension, and Task Focus

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong /
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong /

In a previous post, we learned about the benefits of meditation (in particular “mindfulness meditation”) for modifying alpha brain waves and improving learning and memory processes. Recently, I stumbled upon an article that talked about how mindfulness improves reading ability, working memory, and task-focus.

The Study: Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering

  • 48 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to either a class that taught the practice of mindfulness or a class that covered fundamental topics in nutrition.
  • baseline tests were conducted with a modified verbal reasoning test from the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and working memory capacity (WMC) test. Mind-wandering during both tests was also measured.
  • after two weeks, both groups were tested again and they found that the mindfulness group significantly improved on both the verbal GRE test and the working memory capacity test. They also had less mind-wandering during testing. These changes were not observed with the nutrition group.

How Can You Practice Mindfulness Meditation?

There are lots of programs you can join but if you want to get started quickly, these articles provide a lot of helpful information:

Alternative Activities for Mindfulness?

The essence of mindfulness meditation is to be present and fully attentive to what is happening right now. I don’t know if it can be considered to have the same effect as mindfulness meditation but whenever I was rock climbing, I was always very conscious of my present state. Can it be said that any activity that forces you to give your full attention to the “now” can be substituted for mindfulness meditation and allow you to reap the same benefits? I wonder…

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Even if you aren’t after working memory benefits or reading comprehension, I believe mindfulness meditation is an important activity for today’s ultra-busy society where everyone is multitasking with their thoughts at almost every waking moment of the day.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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