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2016/2017  BA-BPSYV1501U  The Science of Mindfulness

English Title
The Science of Mindfulness

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 45
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Psychology, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Elisabeth Naima Mikkelsen - Department of Organization (IOA)
Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt/​student-hub
Main academic disciplines
  • Business psychology
Last updated on 10-10-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of theoretical concepts of mindfulness.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying brain processes involved in mindfulness.
  • Demontrate and being able to communicate basic concepts in cognitive psychology.
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the research on neuroeconomic decision-making and how mindfulness can impact this domain.
The Science of Mindfulness:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale Pass / Fail
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Mindfulness has roots in ancient Buddhist psychology, and has in recent years received widespread interest from various domains. For example mindfulness has been on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos and is being used by the US Marine Corp and US Olympic athletes. This course explores the scientific evidence and methods underlying mindfulness, and the approach will be multidisciplinary, spanning psychology, neuroscience, and economics. The aim of the course is enabling the students to reflect on the relationship between mindfulness theory and mindfulness implementation in real world settings, as well provide scientific evidence that will allow us to discern if mindfulness is simply to be considered hype or if it actually has real lasting effects when implemented in modern society. In addition the course aims to provide the students with fundamental knowledge and understanding of basic concepts and theories in cognitive psychology.


Furthermore, the course is based on teaching the students basic mindfulness practices. The students are expected to gain an optimal understanding of scientific evidence underlying mindfulness and cognitive psychology, as well as understanding how their own experience may be affected by mindfulness. The course is based on the latest research showing that mindfulness training strengthens neural connections and entails a physical change in the brain. It has traditionally been very difficult to assess the effect of mindfulness training in the individual practitioner, albeit adopting objective measurements from brain research, we will in this course provide students with a behavior profile on specific parameters and quantify the effects that mindfulness practice has on each students’ behavior. The aim of this part of the course is to provide the students with specific tools and knowledge to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life.


Overall, this course aims to meet the growing demand for training in mindfulness, by combining a strong academic emphasis on research methods with experiential understanding of mindfulness and cognitive psychology.

Teaching methods
The teaching will be a mixture of lectures, discussions, and exercises to ensure a good and varied learning process for the individual students and for the class – this giving the students time to reflect and explore both theory and practice in mindfulness.
Student workload
Lectures, 4-hour lectures once a week over 9 weeks 36 hours
Reading of course literature 120 hours
Exam preparation 50 hours
Expected literature

Reading list


  • Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., et al. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11(3), 230-241 (11 pages).
  • Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Perils and promise in defining and measuring mindfulness: Observations from experience. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11(3), 242-248 (6 pages).
  • Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(3), 373-386 (13 pages).
  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156 (12 pages).
  • Keng, S-L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1041-1056 (15 pages).
  • Robins, C. J., Keng, S-L., Ekblad, A. G., & Brantley, J. G. (2012). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on emotional experience and expression: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68, 117-131 (15 pages).
  • Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., Ridgeway, V. A., Soulsby, J. M., & Lau, M. A. (2000). Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness- based cognitive therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(4), 615-623 (8 pages).
  • Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., & Williams, J. M. G. (2003). Mindfulness training and problem formulation. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 157-160 (3 pages).
  • Eisendrath, S. Chartier, M., & McLane, M. (2011). Adapting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 18, 362-370 (8 pages).
  • Vettese, L.C., Toneatto, T., Stea, J. N., Nguyen, L., & Wang, J. J. (2009). Do mindfulness meditation participants do their homework? And does it make a difference? A review of the empirical evidence. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 23, 198-225 (27 pages).
  • Garland, E., & Gaylord, S. (2009). Envisioning a future contemplative science of mindfulness: Fruitful methods and new content for the next wave of research. Complementary Health Practice Review, 14, 3-9 (6 pages).
  • Chambers, R, Gullone, E., & Allen, N. B. (2008). Mindful emotion regulation: An integrative review. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 560-572 (12 pages).
  • Davidson, R. J. (2010). Empirical explorations of mindfulness: Conceptual and methodological conundrums. Emotion, 10, 8-11 (3 pages).
  • Kirk, U, Harvey, AH, Fonagy, P, Montague, PR. (2014). Mindfulness training modulates value signals in ventromedial prefrontal cortex through input from insular cortex. Neuroimage. Jun 21:254-262 (8 pages).
  • Gu, X, Kirk, U, Lohrenz, T, Montague, PR. (2014). Cognitive Strategies Regulate Fictive, but not Reward Prediction Error Signals in a Sequential Investment Task. Hum Brain Mapp. (10 pages).
  • Kirk, U, Brown, KW, Downar, J. (2014). Adaptive neural reward processing during anticipation and receipt of monetary rewards in mindfulness meditators. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. Sep 5 (8 pages).
  • Kirk, U, Downar, J, Montague, PR. (2011). Interoception drives increased rational decision-making in meditators playing the Ultimatum Game. Frontiers in Neuroscience; Apr 18;5;49 (11 pages).
  • Kirk, U. (2012). Neural substrates of corporate decision-making. J Neuroleadership. October edition (12 pages).


Article pages total: 188


Book chapters:

  • Hanson, R. & Mendius, R. (2009). Buddha’s brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom. Oakland: New Harbinger. (pp. 176 – 225) (50 pages).
  • Lazar, S. (2005). Mindfulness research. In C. Germer, R. Siegel, & P. Fulton (Eds.), Mindfulness and psychotherapy (pp. 220 - 238). New York: The Guilford Press (18 pages).
  • Gazzaniga, MS., Ivry, R.B., & Mangun, G. R. (2014). Cognitive Neuroscience. The Biology of the Mind (4. edition). New York: Norton (Chapter 3, 4, 8, 9, 13) (250 pages).

This is a good and relatively easily accessible textbook with a focused on brain related aspects of cognitive psychology.

  • Siegel JS. (2007). The mindful brain. New York: Norton (Chapter 1-4) (100 pages)


Book pages total: 418


Total pages: 606

Last updated on 10-10-2016