Date of Award

Spring 2-25-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Social Sciences

First Advisor

Melissa Jean

Second Advisor

Nancy Waring


The rise of secular mindfulness has been buoyed in large part by scientific research into its benefits. The availability of consumer-grade biofeedback devices promises to bring the objectivity of results seen in a research lab to personal experience. This mixed methods study examined the experience of 12 participants in a workplace mindfulness program, comparing the experience of an experimental group whose meditation practice was supported with the use of a HeartMath™ Inner Balance device to a control group who learned to meditate without it. The effects on stress, focus and motivation were captured via questionnaire, along with biofeedback data and participant interviews. The study did not find evidence that the addition of biofeedback devices had a consistent or significant positive impact on outcomes or experience. In several cases, the impact was measured to produce negative outcomes or shown to be detrimental to the experience. However, it also revealed some promise where biofeedback could be used effectively in support of mindfulness programs for the suitable individuals. These preliminary findings suggest that biofeedback devices should not be deployed at-large with mindfulness programs, nor should they be dismissed completely, but rather should be implemented judiciously and carefully while this nascent field continues to evolve.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.