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Research by Dr. Ueda et al. Receives Best Research Award from the Japanese Association of Mindfulness (JAM)

For the second consecutive year, collaborative research by Dr. Yoshiyuki Ueda and Mr. Masahiro Fujino (Researcher, Kyoto University) received the Best Research Award at the 4th Japanese Association of Mindfulness (JAM) conference (Waseda University) on December 16, 2017.

It is well-known that our attention tends to go towards angry faces rather than neutral faces. Previous studies show that continual practice of mindfulness meditation helps strengthen the tendency of our attention to go towards smiling faces and weaken the tendency to go towards angry faces.
This study investigated two components of mindfulness meditation – focused attention meditation or open monitoring meditation – to test if one affects such attentional tendencies more than the other.
To reveal this, we developed short-term (30 minutes) instructions for focused attention meditation and open monitoring meditation, and they were given to naïve participants
As a result, it was observed that, following a thirty-minute relaxation session for the control group, the attention tended to move toward angry facial expressions. However, the attention of participants in the open monitoring meditation group had a tendency towards smiling facial expressions. Participants in the group that practiced focused attention meditation did not show any tendency one way or the other.
These results indicate that open monitoring meditation practice had an impact on attentiveness to smiling faces, which likely affects the sense of well-being and happiness in everyday life. It is crucial for future research to investigate the mechanisms behind open monitoring meditation. This study was conducted at the annex building of the Kokoro Research Center, which is equipped with experimental equipment and sound-proofed chambers.