We propose a two-year research program to study mindfulness-based strategies to foster academic diligence. Students are often torn between academic work and more pleasurable alternatives. For example, students who know they should be studying might also feel a strong desire to watch television instead. We argue that mindfulness enables students to study diligently despite intrusive desires to pursue more immediately rewarding but less productive activities. Planned studies will involve adolescents attending high school schools where we have productively conducted research in the past. Our pilot data with undergraduates show a positive relationship between mindfulness and academic diligence. Year One will involve replicating that association, and further, identifying the specific mechanisms through which mindfulness promotes diligence. In parallel, we will develop and pilot a brief online mindfulness exercise designed to help students manage problematic desires during learning. In Year Two, we will conduct random-assignment, placebo-controlled field experiments to test the effect of the mindfulness exercise on academic diligence. Outputs from this project include three manuscripts submitted to peer-reviewed journals, presentations at two national conferences, and a brief, online mindfulness exercise for use in school settings and future research. To reach opinion leaders in policy and education, we will proactively seek coverage from high-visibility press outlets. This project will lead to several anticipated outcomes. It will advance our theoretical understanding of the mechanisms underlying academic diligence, and how mindfulness can be applied to promote its expression. The brief mindfulness exercise will be easily implemented by educators, which should assist ongoing efforts in character education programs. This project, if successful, will also have policy implications that character can be intentionally cultivated through brief, well-timed exercises.
Templeton.org is in English. Only a few pages are translated into other languages.