Mindfulness and Critical Thinking: Investigating Theoretical Links and the Role of Executive Functioning
C. Noone1, M.J. Hogan1
1NUI Galway, Ireland
Background:Critical thinking (CT) involves successful analysis and evaluation of evidence and arguments as well as the inference of reasonable conclusions and is crucial in modern workplaces(Facione, 2013). According to dual-processing accounts, such reflective responses require the intervention of executive functioning (EF; Evans & Stanovich, 2013). One proposed way of enhancing EF is through mindfulness practice (Chiesa et al., 2011). This study investigated whether mindfulness facilitates CT and whether this relationship is mediated by EF. Method: The FFMQ (Baer et al., 2006), an EF battery (Miyake et al., 2000) and the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment (Halpern, 1998) were administered to 196 undergraduates. Findings: Structural Equation Modelling showed relations between (1)mindfulness and CT performance;(2)each EF process (Updating, Inhibition and Shifting) and CT performance;(3) the Observing and Acting with Awareness facets and Updating;(4)the Observing and Acting with Awareness facets and Shifting; and (5) Non-reacting and Non-judging and Inhibition. Discussion: The possibility of enhancing CT through mindfulness practice is compelling as it would be synergistic with improved well-being outcomes.