Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa Steelman

Second Advisor

Patrick Converse

Third Advisor

Jessica Wildones

Fourth Advisor

Georgios Anagnostopoulos


This study sought to test the impact of the contemplative practices of guided mindfulness and more traditional mindfulness compared to a standard educational practices control condition, on learning. Guided mindfulness practices are embedded concentrative psychoeducational practices of contingency planning and guided reflection that are systematically sequenced in experiential learning contexts. Traditional mindfulness practices are embodied interoceptive practices such as diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness meditation, and body scan used in a generalized sense. The control condition standard educational practices include note taking and learning styles. By engaging learners in an embedded psychoeducational practice and embodied interoceptive practices, this study sought to: 1) show how different contemplative practices may facilitate overall learning and higher order learning along the revised hierarchy of educational objectives (Krathwohl, 2002), and 2) test the indirect influence of these practices on learning through the mechanisms of metacognition and cognitive flexibility (Jankowski & Holas, 2014; Spiro et al., 2003). These relationships were tested using a one-way between subjects repeated measures design in a controlled laboratory setting. Participants in the guided mindfulness and traditional mindfulness groups were administered the respective practices through a mobile application, whereas, participants in the control condition were presented a PowerPoint presentation. Participants were then trained on the real-world task of basic electricity knowledge and skills application via an adaptive training system. Data from 214 participants from a small Southeastern city in the United States were analyzed. Results revealed no significant differences between the groups in overall or higher order learning resulting from either contemplative practice or the control condition. A statistically significant and positive relationship was found between cognitive flexibility and overall learning in both the guided mindfulness and traditional mindfulness conditions. Results of this study reveal a modest effect size for novice meditators engaging in either guided mindfulness or mindfulness practices.


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