Mindfulness Can Aid in Solving Computer-Engineering Problems

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New research has shown that mindfulness increases the capacity to solve computer-engineering problems.

Researchers at the University of Seville in Spain note that mindfulness is now used in schools and universities, as well as in tech companies like Google and Intel.

Mindfulness is rooted in being fully aware in the present moment. One of the methods for achieving this state of awareness in your daily life is meditation, which is referred to as formal mindfulness. This consists of taking time out to be still in a calm and quiet place.

The research came about because instructor Dr. Beatriz Bernárdez practices mindfulness and noticed a considerable improvement in her ability to solve problems.

In fact, there have been previous studies that show that meditation stimulates activity in certain areas of the brain connected to different aspects of mental activity, such as compassion, attention and concentration.

In the new study, two variables were evaluated: Effectiveness (how well participants performed a task) and efficiency (how quickly they performed the task). These variables were measured twice, before and after the mindfulness sessions, in both groups, experimental and control.

In both cases, the students were faced with conceptual modelling exercises, a task that is normally quite difficult and requires analytical skills, reading comprehension and the capacity to classify and organize concepts.

Since 2014, the researchers have carried out three experiments to test their theory. The first lasted four weeks and the next two lasted six.

During this time, a group of students took part in mindfulness sessions that lasted between 10 and 12 minutes four times a week. In each session, they first performed a mindfulness body scan. Then, the students were invited to carefully focus their attention on their breathing, ignoring any other idea that came into their minds.

To see how the students’ effectiveness and efficiency were progressing with this activity, their performance was compared with the control group, which did not take part in the mindfulness sessions.

In the experiments carried out so far, the students who practiced mindfulness were significantly more efficient, according to the study’s findings.

The study also found that the students who practiced mindfulness were significantly more effective.

The researchers now intend to replicate their experiment in other universities to  generalize their findings. They also hope to be able to start empirical studies in software development companies.

Source: University of Seville

 
Photo: This is a mindfulness session in the University of Seville. Credit: University of Seville.

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