Roles of Trait Mindfulness and Working Memory Capacity in Life Goal and Autobiographical Memory Specificities

  •  Li-Hao Yeh    
  •  Xiaoyi Zhou    
  •  Xingye Chen    


Low life goal and autobiographical memory specificities are associated with negative psychological symptoms. Short-term mindfulness trainings can increase life goal and autobiographical memory specificities. The present study extends the literature by investigating whether trait mindfulness is associated with life goal and autobiographical memory specificities. Additionally, because mindfulness trainings improve working memory capacity, which is associated with future episodic specificity and autobiographical memory retrieval, a second aim of this study was to examine whether working memory capacity moderates the relationship between trait mindfulness and life goal and autobiographical memory specificities. 96 participants completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, Automated Operational Span task, minimal instructions Autobiographical Memory Test, and Measure to Elicit Positive Future Goals and Plans. A multiple regression analysis revealed that the presence aspect of trait mindfulness and the interaction of the acceptance aspect of trait mindfulness and working memory capacity were predictive for goal specificity. A follow-up simple slope analysis revealed that high acceptance aspect of mindfulness was associated with low goal specificity in participants with a high working memory capacity. However, this association was not present in participants with medium and low working memory capacity. Neither trait mindfulness nor working memory capacity were associated with autobiographical memory specificity. Findings suggest that present-moment awareness enables one to focus on accessing event-specific knowledge, and that an accepting attitude alone cannot help people with high working memory capacity to make more concrete and specific future plans. The lack of association between trait mindfulness and autobiographical memory specificity might be attributed to low specific memories found in this study.

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