Mindfulness and Cognitive Performance | SGP Research

Pacific University is currently seeking grant funding to support a collaboration with the Washington County Sheriff Office and OR Department of Public Safety Standards and Training on a project that will examine the impact of mindfulness on cognitive performance.

What is our study goal?

Examine the impact of mindfulness skills training on cognitive performance of law enforcement officers (LEO). More specifically, we plan to examine whether mindfulness training can help LEOs notice when implicit bias arises and is likely to impact force-response decision-making.

How are we achieving this goal?

Collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to pur newly hired LEOs through an 8-week mindfulness skills training or assign them to a control group that receives the mindfulness training after the study is complete. Officers in both groups will go through shooter simulator scenarios at the beginning of the study and at the end of the study. We will be working with the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training in Salem, OR.

What is implicit bias?

Implicit bias is a term psychologists use to refer to beliefs about and feelings towards people in other social groups that exist in our unconscious mind. At a conscious level, we may even feel or think differently about those social groups. What is tricky about implicit bias is that we may not know we have bias in our unconscious mind and it can impact our behavior. Mindfulness training has the potential to help officers skillfully become aware of the activation of implicit bias and learn how to sever the connection between the activation of bias and their behavior.

This is a unique collaboration between Pacific University, Washington County Sheriff's Office, and the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

 

If you are interested in learning more, please contact prinicipal investigator Dr. Matthew Hunsinger at 585-851-9209 or matthewh@pacificu.edu.

Who are we?

Our team has been working together on training law enforcement agencies in mindfulness and examining the effectiveness of these trainings for the last decade.

Dr. Matthew Hunsinger is the principal investigator for our team's research on mindfulness and cognitive performance. Matthew is an associate professor in the School of Graduate Psychology at Pacific University.

Lt. Richard Goerling is a retired police lieutenant with 24 years of experience in law enforcement. He's also a retired military officer and a certified mindfulness trainer through the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. Richard has served as a co-investigator on all of our team's studies examining the impact of mindfulness training on law enforcement officers.

Dr. Michael Christopher is a co-investigator for our team's research on mindfulness and cognitive performance. He has served as the principal investigator for our team's research on mindfulness training and officer wellness. Mike is a full professor in the School fo Graduate Psychology at Pacific University.

Contact Us

Matthew Hunsinger, Ph.D. | Associate Professor

P: 503-352-3612 | matthewh@pacificu.edu