We tested a brief computerized mental training intervention grounded in mindfulness principles – Attention Feedback Awareness and Control Training (A-FACT). A-FACT is designed to train meta-awareness of, and thereby greater self-regulatory control over, (biased) attentional processing of emotionally salient information.
We studied N = 58 trait anxious adults (M = 24, SDage = 3.25 years old; 72.4% female), among whom we expect to observe dyscontrol over attentional processing of threatening or anxiety-provoking information.
We found that (1) relative to an active placebo condition, participants randomized to A-FACT demonstrated higher levels of meta-awareness of biased attention; (2) relative to active placebo, A-FACT led to greater control of overt (eye movement) attention including reduced overt bias toward threat and degree of trial-to-trial temporal variability of overt attentional processing; and (3) degree of meta-awareness post-training was significantly associated with greater attentional control at post-relative to pre-training.
Findings may have implications for mental or cognitive training technologies grounded in mindfulness principles and, more specifically, for the study of meta-awareness, attentional dyscontrol, and mental health.