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Individual mindfulness, cognitive failures and personality (the big five) in a workplace sample
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Karen Klockner, R Hicks
Individual mindfulness has been described as an awareness of and attention to external clues, with the ability to observe, accept and to understand those external clues. One of the aims of this study was to examine whether mindful individuals pay more attention to their external environment, and make fewer cognitive errors. It was also wondered, since predisposition to cognitive errors had been found to be related to selected personality variables, whether the Big Five personality factors may themselves be related to individual mindfulness and to cognitive failures. Method: Ninety-two employees from a variety of enterprises in Australia completed questionnaires on mindfulness (MAAS: the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale), the Big Five personality variables (IPIP: the International Personality Item Pool questionnaire) and cognitive errors (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire: CFQ). The relationships between mindfulness and personality variables and between mindfulness and cognitive failures were examined. Results: Results indicated that individual mindfulness was significantly negatively related to the Big Five factor of neuroticism suggesting that mindful individuals are less focused on their internal environment (that is, more focussed on the external environment, as suggested in the aims of the study). There was also a significant negative correlation between individual mindfulness and cognitive failures indicating that the higher an individual’s mindfulness the lower their cognitive failures. Discussion: The current study suggests that implications can be drawn for the fields of human factors and occupational health and safety including helping to reduce cognitive errors and accidents in the workplace. The findings may also support the call from Grossman (2011) that the MAAS is not a direct measure of the Buddhist or Mindfulness Based concepts of mindfulness but rather is a measure of lapses of attention as a better description of the overall MAAS inventory.