Abstract

We have investigated two different smartphone meditation apps to determine if they have any effects on stress and check if they are a viable tool that users can engage with to cope with stress during a work break. The dependent variables being measured include affective and cognitive restoration. The control group performed a coloring activity using a mandala figure. The experimental conditions engaged in app guided meditation through either 10% Happier or Calm. Both are health apps that are intended to help users practice a variety of mindfulness meditation exercises and help build healthy habits. This research focused on a specific form of meditation known as mindfulness meditation for gratitude, afterward we analyzed the findings.

Previous workplace mindfulness intervention trials have focused on reducing psychological stress, with limited empirical evidence showing that mindfulness training leads to improvements in the other domains, such as affective and cognitive processes. Research on mobile meditation apps may have been limited by ceiling effects given that previous research did not attempt to induce stress and fatigue prior to intervention. The vigilance task has been used to reduce the occurrence of the ceiling effect, it has the purpose of inducing stress and cognitive fatigue prior to intervention. We ran participants through the experiment then measure and analyze their data to see if stress reduction benefits of mindfulness-based meditation for gratitude can effectively restore stress levels once induced. Benefits associated with meditation include an improved capacity to cope with stressful situations and enhanced attention regulation which are key performance indicators across many domains.

First participants took the Big Five Personality test. Then completed a baseline affective and cognitive assessment (ACA), which included the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the shortened version of the Dundee Stress State Questionnaire, and the N-back test. Next, participants completed the vigilance task, followed by another ACA. Participants were then randomly assigned to complete a coloring activity, 10% Happier, or Calm followed by an ACA. Last, participants in the experimental conditions completed the System Usability Scale.

Application: Everyday life involves cognitive demands that can be stressful and decrease performance, especially for workers and college students whose performance is vital within their domains. This research investigates the potential of mindfulness meditation apps' ability to restore cognitive and affective processes once depleted.

Thesis Completion

2020

Semester

Spring

Thesis Chair

McConnell, Daniel

Co-Chair

Horan, Kristin

Degree

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Industrial Organizational Psychology

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

5-1-2020

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