Episode 116 :: Chris Noone :: Sham Mindfulness and Critical Thinking

Chris Noone

Researcher Chris Noone joins us to speak about his latest paper studying the effects of mindfulness on critical thinking, and to talk about the need for active controls in mindfulness research.

As many of you long time listeners know, I’m a big fan of good science and critical thinking, as well as mindfulness meditation. As was hopefully made clear in the paper Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation, my co-authors who really did the heavy lifting in the writing of that paper agree: there are good indications about how contemplative practice may be helpful in some ways for many people. It’s not magic, and in science the understanding of the natural world is never “proven” or “case closed,” there is always something to learn and improve how we meet ideas and ways of being. And there’s room for improvement with the scientific study of mindfulness.

Good science also means looking at all the data, not just what you agree with or supports a belief you have. That’s true for me too, and when I encountered the paper being discussed in today’s episode, I was so very happy and grateful to the lead author’s kind and companionable interest in speaking about it, especially in light of our different perspectives. I was impressed by the efforts made to do good science. Though I have some suggestions about how future research might address some of potential gaps of this work, it’s important that the limits of mindfulness be explored in an equitable manner, too. So, again, great thanks to today’s guest for his open and friendly engagement in the today’s talk.

Chris Noone is a post-doctoral researcher with the MEDAL research group which is led by Dr. Gerry Molloy. Chris recently completed a PhD at NUI Galway focused on critically analysing claims which have been made regarding the effect of mindfulness on thinking skills. Prior to this Chris had completed a MSc in applied neuroscience at Leiden University and a BA in psychology at NUI Galway. He has contributed research on a wide range of topics broadly related to wellbeing including the cognitive effects of mindfulness, citizen consultation for the design of wellbeing measures, financial stress in dairy farmers and sexual counselling for patients in cardiac rehabilitation. Chris is Chair of the Research and Policy Sub-Committee of the National LGBT Federation. He has also contributed to the Yes Equality campaign, to the development of the first LGBT Staff Network at the National University of Ireland, Galway and is a member of the administration group for Bi+ Ireland. He hopes to establish a research group focused on LGBT health and wellbeing in Ireland in the future.

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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in this podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. You can visit his website to hear more of his music, get the full discography, and view his upcoming tour dates.