Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mary Peterson, PhD

Second Advisor

Glena Andrews, PhD

Third Advisor

Mark McMinn, PhD


In recent years, there has been a significant increase in mindfulness-related techniques. The willingness to experience emotions fully, just as they are, is a catalyst for psychological change to occur. Mindfulness has been used to alleviate stress and promote healthy living (Lagopoulos et al., 2009). The clinical utility of mindfulness has grown exponentially; however, the neuropsychological process of mindfulness is still being understood. The present study sought to examine the influence of a brief mindfulness intervention on brain activation in college students. A sample (n = 17) of undergraduate participants were randomly assigned into a prepost mindfulness intervention or control group. Both groups received neurophysiological measures: Electroencephalogram (EEG), Electrocardiogram (EKG), and Galvanic Skin Response (GSR/EDA Electrodermal Activity), and self-report measures: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Patient Health Questionnaire, Ninth Edition (PHQ-9), and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Participants in the intervention group completed daily, independent mindfulness practices via phone application (Headspace; developed by Puddicombe & Pierson, 2010) in conjunction with weekly mindfulness group meetings for 4 weeks. The control group met and watched TED talk videos for an equivalent frequency and duration. ACEs was used as a covariate. There were no statistically significant findings for the EEG results, likely due to the small sample size. Analysis of effect sizes indicate the intervention group experienced reduced activation in emotional reactivity of the limbic system post-intervention. Furthermore, there were frontal lobe responses showing a reduction in negative emotions aroused by the stimulus task. Results of self-report measures from the PHQ-9 and FFMQ did not produce an interaction or main effect. However, analysis of the FFMQ subscales indicated that both groups demonstrated improvement in the non-reactivity and non-judging domains of the FFMQ. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.