top of page

Does a 15-minute brief mindfulness breathing exercise temporarily enhance inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility? A within-subject experimental approach.

Hartanto, A., Kasturiratna, K. T. A. S., Chua Y. J., Ngo, J. A., Ong, J. S. Y., Quek, F. Y. X., Soh, X. C., Majeed, N. M.



Intensive mindfulness practices have been shown to improve cognitive abilities such as executive functions. However, most of these mindfulness-based practices require the participants to be involved either an extended immersive experience or repeated daily practice that may span over multiple weeks or months. Extending from the promising effect of intensive mindfulness training, recent studies have also suggested that a single session of brief mindfulness training is sufficient to temporarily enhance cognitive functions. However, the positive effect of brief mindfulness was not always consistent. In view of the inconsistent findings, the current study aims to critically examine the effectiveness of a single-session 15-minute brief mindfulness exercise on both inhibitory control and task-switching using a within-subject experimental design (N = 117). Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not find any evidence that engaging in a brief mindfulness exercise enhanced performance in the flanker task or color-shape task-switching paradigm. These results suggest that a mindfulness intervention of short duration may not be sufficient to immediately enhance higher-order cognitive processes such as inhibitory control and task-switching.

Keywords: brief mindfulness, executive functions, inhibitory control, task-switching, within-subject design

bottom of page