Exploring the impact of mindfulness on false-memory susceptibility


Wilson et al. (2015) presented data from three well-powered experiments suggesting that a brief mindfulness induction can increase false memory susceptibility. However, we had concerns about some of the methodology, including whether mind-wandering is the best control condition for brief mindfulness inductions. We report here the findings from a pre-registered double-blind randomised controlled trial designed to replicate and extend the findings. 287 participants underwent a 15-minute mindfulness or mind-wandering induction or completed a join-the-dots task, before being presented with lists of words related to non-presented critical lures followed by free recall and recognition tasks. There was no evidence for an effect of state of mind on correct or false recall or recognition. Furthermore, the manipulation checks revealed that mindfulness and mind-wandering inductions activated overlapping states of mind. Exploratory analyses provide some support for mindfulness increasing false memory, but it appears that mind-wandering may not be the right control for brief mindfulness research.

Psychological Science, 31, 968–977