Overcoming Automaticity Through Meditation

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Maran, T. K., Woznica, M., Moder, S., Furtner, M., Jehle, E., Hörner, S., & Hugger, G. (2021). Overcoming Automaticity Through Meditation. Mindfulness, 12(12), 2896-2907.

Publication type

Article in Scientific Journal


Objectives: Meditation practice has recently moved into applied research to improve cognitive functions. However, it is a multifaceted practice, with focused attention meditation relying on a sharp focus, and open monitoring meditation relying on a diffuse awareness. This study aims to assess the effects of differential alterations of cognition following distinct meditative training and focuses on practitioners’ tendency to fall victim to erroneous automaticity in responding when faced with cognitive conflict. Methods: Seventy-three individuals were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups (internally focused attention meditation, externally focused attention meditation, open monitoring meditation) or a wait list control group. The meditation groups were trained over the course of 4 weeks and eight sessions. Changes in proneness to erroneous automatic responding were tested using two cognitive performance tasks that induce learned or instructed automaticity (Dot Pattern Expectancy paradigm, NEXT-paradigm). Results: Overall, meditation training generally improved overcoming learned automaticity (rs = .26–.36, ps = .002–.031) but not instructed automaticity compared to the control condition. Furthermore, data suggest open monitoring outperformed focused attention in overcoming learned automaticity in one task (rs = .31–.56, ps = .001–.009). Conclusions: Our results provide evidence for meditative training to facilitate practitioners’ ability to select the most appropriate course of action against overlearned habits in light of the peculiarities of their current situation. Open monitoring meditation is a particularly promising avenue for reducing one’s liability to erroneous habits.


Mindfulness in Organizations
FFF-Förderprojekt, February 2020 until January 2022 (finished)

The practice of mindfulness, that is, non-judgmental attention to present-moment experiences, originates in the Buddhist tradition. It is, however, not only a spiritual concept, but also a ... more ...

Mindfulness in Organizations
PhD-Thesis, since February 2020

The increasing complexity of modern workplaces calls for the examination of implementable means for employees to manage their profession in a way that facilitates both their performance and their ... more ...


Organizational Units

  • Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership