Amishi P. Jha, Anthony P. Zanesco, Ekaterina Denkova, Joshua D. Rooks, Alexandra B. Morrison, & Elizabeth A. Stanley. (2020). “Comparing Mindfulness and Positivity Training in High-Demand Cohorts.” Cognitive Research and Therapy, vol. 44, no. 2: 311-326.
Attention and working memory are at risk of degradation over intensive intervals in groups engaged in highly demanding jobs. Accordingly, there is great interest in identifying training regimes to promote cognitive resilience in such populations. Herein, US Army Soldiers were assigned to either an 8-week, 16-h mindfulness training (MT) program (n = 40) or to a well-matched active comparison program involving positivity training (PT, n = 40), during an intensive interval of predeployment training. Working memory (WM) and sustained attention task performance, as well as self-reported positive and negative trait affect, were assessed at study onset (T1) and at the end of the MT/PT program interval (T2). Positive and negative trait affect did not change over time or differ across training groups. Yet, overall decline in cognitive task performance was observed from T1 to T2. Importantly, the MT group demonstrated significantly less decline in cognitive task performance relative to the PT group, suggesting better protection from cognitive degradation over time. Based on these results, we argue that MT should be further explored as a cognitive resilience-building tool in high-demand cohorts.