Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Yuko Munakata

Second Advisor

Loriliai Biernacki

Third Advisor

Eliana Colunga

Abstract

Though interest around mindfulness is increasing, definitions and theories about this construct remain disjointed and relatively ambiguous. Limitations in survey measures has engendered the call for more objective measures to capture specific aspects of mindfulness in children. We therefore developed novel behavioral measures of mindfulness aimed to capture present-moment awareness. Biofeedback metrics were analyzed alongside reported measures of breath count and perceived heart rate to assess children’s abilities to monitor internal states. We designed and piloted a 2-session study utilizing an individual differences approach to compare internal and external monitoring abilities with one another and with established self-report measures of mindfulness. We predicted measures of internal monitoring would correlate positively with each other and with external monitoring. We also predicted that self-report measures would correlate positively. Though our sample was not large enough to draw conclusions regarding our predictions, this pilot study has positioned us to address limitations associated with data collection prior to running the broader 2-session study. Further research with appropriate power and variance is needed to more accurately examine these correlations.

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