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01-06-2015 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2015

Mindfulness 3/2015

Effects of Brief Mindfulness Induction on Weakening Habits: Evidence from a Computer Mouse Control Task

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2015
Yek Wei Chong, Ying Hwa Kee, Iti Chaturvedi


Adapting to a new behavior is challenging when previous habits dominate one’s behavioral patterns. We examined the effects of a brief 6-min mindfulness induction on the acquisition of a new behavior (moving computer mouse cursor with its direction reversed) and the extent to which it disengaged previous habits (moving computer mouse cursor as per normal). Thirty-one participants were randomly assigned either to experimental or control groups. They were asked to perform a computer-based target-clicking task during which mouse direction was normal and reversed for separate sets of trials before and after the manipulation. The 2- (time; pre-test vs. post-test) by-2 (condition; mindfulness induction vs. control condition) mixed ANOVA results showed that there was no significant interaction between time and condition for both old and new behaviors. However, a significant interaction between time and condition was found in terms of number of mistakes made while initiating movements for the trials in the normal mouse orientation (old behavior). This finding suggests that a brief mindfulness induction may have weakened existing habits. Future studies could examine the effects of mindfulness induction on real-life tasks where performance measurement is also possible, such as text typing, to see if learning to type on an unfamiliar keyboard weakens existing typing habits after mindfulness induction.

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