Meditating leads to better grades

meditating on a flame

Three classroom experiments have found that students who meditated before a psychology lecture scored better on a quiz that followed than students who did not meditate. Mood, relaxation, and class interest were not affected by the meditation training.

The noteworthy thing is that the meditation was very very basic — six minutes of written meditation exercises.

The effect was stronger in classes where more freshmen students were enrolled, suggesting that the greatest benefit is to those students who have most difficulty in concentrating (who are more likely to drop out).

The finding suggests the value in teaching some active self-reflection strategies to freshmen, and disadvantaged ones in particular.

It’s reasonable to speculate that more extensive training might increase the benefits.

And in another recent meditation study, a two week mindfulness course significantly improved both Graduate Record Exam reading comprehension scores and working memory capacity.

The study involved 48 undergrads who either attended the mindfulness course or a nutrition class. Each 45-minute class met eight times over two weeks. Mindfulness training was associated with a 16-percentile boost in GRE scores, on average. Mind wandering also significantly decreased. The healthy nutrition course had no effect on any of these factors. (first study)

[3382] Ramsburg, J. T., & Youmans R. J. (Submitted).  Meditation in the Higher-Education Classroom: Meditation Training Improves Student Knowledge Retention during Lectures. Mindfulness. 1 - 11. (second study)

[3380] Mrazek, M. D., Franklin M. S., Phillips D. T., Baird B., & Schooler J. W. (2013).  Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering. Psychological Science.

Recent posts by category