An Oxford University study found that following mindfulness procedures – focusing on breathing and suspending judgment and criticism – was effective at treating depression.
Many schools encourage their pupils to practise mindfulness – but the new findings may lead to questions over whether it might be best avoided ahead of exams.
It might also be unhelpful for witnesses trying to recall whether they saw or heard something in court.
The findings, published in Psychological Science, show that participants who engaged in a 15-minute mindfulness meditation session were less able to differentiate items they actually encountered from items they only imagined.
Brent Wilson, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, said: ‘Our results highlight an unintended consequence of mindfulness meditation: memories may be less accurate.