CookiesWe use cookies to enhance your experience and the functionality of our website. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More

CookiesWe use cookies on our website. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More

Love Unleashed A New Momentum of Heart Consciousness Unfolding An In-Person HeartMath/Global Coherence Retreat in Santa Cruz, CA Learn More

Research Library

Mindfulness and Divergent Thinking: The Value of Heart Rate Variability as an Objective Manipulation Check

    • Published: 2017
    • Julia Keller11, Eric Ruthruff2, and Patrick Keller1
    • Copyright © 2017 by authors, all rights reserved. Universal Journal of Psychology 5(3): 95-104, 2017. DOI: 10.13189/ujp.2017.050301.1. Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, South Dakota State University, United States. 2. Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, United States.
    • Download the complete paper, click here.


Mindfulness (MF) is a form of mental training that has been linked to increased creativity in problem-solving. Most MF studies recruit participants interested in meditation, and thus are biased towards positive effects. Participants in this study (n = 73) therefore signed up for "mental training," not "mindfulness meditation"; the vast majority (54) had little to no prior meditation experience. This is also the first such experiment to use an objective measure of MF (coherence, a physiological correlate of MF that can be indexed by heart rate variability or HRV) as a manipulation check. Participants were randomly assigned to either MF training or a control condition (a memory exercise), and completed a test of divergent thinking (Unusual Uses Task) before and after mental training. Coherence was significantly higher in the MF group and heart rate was significantly lower in the MF group.