In 2008, we conducted a pilot study of MMFT with a detachment of 37 U.S. Marine reservists, who received MMFT training before they deployed to Iraq. Before and after MMFT training, the Marines participated in a battery of behavioral tasks to measure their cognitive capabilities. We measured aspects of attention and working memory capacity, the capacity to maintain attentional control over time. We also measured their perceived stress levels and emotional experience using self-report questionnaires. In addition, control group data was gathered from another pre-deployment Marine reservist detachment that did not receive MMFT.
The results from this pilot study suggest that MMFT may protect against the cognitive degradation that often accompanies pre-deployment training. The results showed that the more time Marines engaged in MMFT exercises outside of class, the greater the improvement in their cognitive functioning, the greater the decrease in their levels of perceived stress, the greater the decrease in their negative emotions, and the greater the increase in their positive emotions – despite an objective increase in stressors during the pre-deployment period.
For more information about the results of the pilot study, please see our publications which explain the empirical findings in more detail.